I reported in February that the BBC’s plans to launch smartphone apps based on its news sites had caused some controversy among British newspaper publishers. The publishers were upset because they already regard the BBC as a publicly-funded competitor to their private businesses, seeing it as unwanted government competition to private industry. They thus protest anything new that the BBC does, fearing it might negatively affect any similar efforts of their own.

In response to their concerns, the BBC elected to delay the release of the apps until the BBC Trust had the chance to consider them further.

Now, according to Paid Content, the BBC Trust has ruled that the BBC smartphone applications can go ahead as planned. The Trust found that such apps do not represent any significant change from the way the BBC already makes its content available free over the web.

Personally, I also feel the impact of the apps will be limited because smartphones and tablets—especially the iPhone and iPad—already have perfectly serviceable web browsers, and it’s a lot easier to go to a website as part of your normal browsing experience than it is to close the browser and tap a separate icon to launch an app that may not even have as much functionality as a well-constructed website to begin with.


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