"And Technology Review? We sold 353 subscriptions through the iPad. We never discovered how to avoid the necessity of designing both landscape and portrait versions of the magazine for the app. We wasted $124,000 on outsourced software development. We fought amongst ourselves, and people left the company. There was untold expense of spirit. I hated every moment of our experiment with apps, because it tried to impose something closed, old, and printlike on something open, new, and digital."
This is precisely what I’ve been saying for awhile now (see my interview with Pixel Union and my SXSW panel for examples). It seems insane to me that publishers today feel compelled to run complex native development efforts for multiple platforms, particularly when we’ve been developing an incredibly sophisticated abstraction for networked content delivery for nearly 20 years now: the web. I would argue that even within the tech industry proper, few traditionally web-oriented companies actually have the stomach for the complexity and comparatively long development cycles of first class native mobile development. If pure tech companies with the resources of Facebook are falling back to web-based or hybrid native/web approaches for their mobile apps, it’s unlikely that native development is a viable option for publishers.