Rob Grimshaw and Financial Times FT Windows 8 app

Rob Grimshaw provides a sneak preview of the Windows 8 app: 'There are some lovely features to Windows 8 which we can use to create a really exciting and interesting version of the FT mobile application'

The Financial Times is working on an app for Windows 8, with a tablet due to be released by Microsoft in the autumn.

"We're very excited about Windows 8 and what that might do for the market place," Rob Grimshaw, managing director of FT.com, today said in a meeting titled 'Beyond the Desktop', at which he talked about the future of mobile.

"We think the tablet space has not yet been settled in who owns it," he added.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk about the Windows 8 app, Grimshaw said: "Apple clearly have done amazing things in that space over the past few years with a device that defined a whole new category. But we can't believe that this is going to be a marketplace which is just dominated by one player in perpetuity.

"We think it will end up being a much more diverse market place and there is room for at least a couple more big players, and given the effort that Microsoft is putting into Windows 8 it's entirely possible that Microsoft will be one of those players."

He explained that the FT is working "to make sure that we have our content available on all the major channels and we would like to be able to do that ahead of the curve, as it were".

"We want to be there as our readers arrive," he added.

"When the devices first come to market and people start buying them, one of the first things they are going to find is a Financial Times Windows 8 app. And we are going to make a fantastic job of it because there are some lovely features to Windows 8 which we can use to create a really exciting and interesting version of the FT mobile application."

The group of around 50 people who attended today's presentation got a "sneak preview" of the app, but Grimshaw said they are not at a stage where they can release images or details (see photo of Grimshaw's presentation above).

But could the FT end up with wrangles as it did with Apple, which dropped the FT from the App Store after the publisher released a HTML5 web app to bypass Apple in response to a change in the terms and conditions? Grimshaw said they are currently in "commercial negotiations and discussions with lots of the different players in the market place".

"Whether it's Apple or Google or Amazon or Microsoft, what we are always looking for is a crossover of interests" with both parties benefitting, he said.

"What we found by talking to players like Microsoft and like Google is that there is a balance in terms of those discussions that we are comfortable with and we feel comfortable that the environment being created around Windows 8 should be one that works well for our business model."

He added that "this is a very complex space for publishers", saying "we as a publisher have to be very clear about where our commercial interests lie and be prepared to back that".

"One thing that we are very clear about is that we are not linked inextricably to any one individual platform, we are there because the terms work for us and if the terms change and they don't work then we'll come off."

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