Get the WSJ on your iPhone

wsj-iphone I used to be a paying subscriber to the Wall Street Journal, one of only two newspapers whose online content I’m willing to pay for (the other being the Financial Times).

When it came to the toss a few years ago, and a budget only for one, I stayed with the FT and dispensed with the WSJ (I am a Brit, after all).

Today, though, I’m happily reading some of the news and op-eds on the WSJ on my iPhone.

Just try and do that from your computer to without a paid subscription and see how far you get.

The Journal launched a free app for the iPhone yesterday which you can get from the iTunes App Store.

As the screenshot indicates, nearly all screens carry a banner from Oracle which, when clicked, launches Safari and takes you to Oracle’s website. So the WSJ iPhone service is ad supported, which makes sense if it gives you access to content that otherwise you’d need a paid subscription for.

I have no problem with that. What I find irritating, though, is that when you get to the Oracle website, it’s the view you get on a computer screen, not the small iPhone screen.

In other words, Oracle’s website isn’t optimized for use and interaction on the iPhone. Wtf? Come on guys, get with the programme! It’s not difficult to do. And especially as you’re the sole advertiser right now on the iPhone version of

Here’s a collection of screenshots I took and uploaded to Flickr; one of the Oracle website is in there as well.

Wired has a good take on what the Journal’s thinking may be behind giving mobile access to its content for free:

[…] By going mobile, and having advertisers instead of readers pay, the Journal stands to broaden its audience without necessarily jeopardizing the subscription model of the News Corp. CEP Rupert Murdoch flirted with the idea of dropping the online paywall while he was in the midst of acquiring Dow Jones, owner of the Journal, but seems to have dropped the idea, and apparently feels no threat by having the content available at no cost on smartphones.

It’s a great app, well designed and easy to use. I especially like the video and podcast-listening options.

Nice work, Wall Street Journal.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. neville

    Isn’t it, Bryan? Maybe just a little detail Oracle overlooked.

    Agree, Danny. I seem to remember hearing that the FT was planning an iPhone app but that might have been a Blackberry one.

  2. Tim Jahn

    I actually enjoy viewing regular sites on my iPhone. After all, that’s a big reason why I got it – to view full Internet and not the watered down version on most mobile devices.

    Often times, the iPhone optimized sites leave out links or elements you need to access (and that you’re used to seeing) on the full version of the site.

    I don’t think Oracle is in the wrong here.

  3. neville

    If that works for you, Tim, great. Probably good if Oracle offered the choice.

    However, I think usability studies on mobile websites like Jakob Nielsen’s “Mobile Web 2009 = Desktop Web 1998” make it pretty clear that mobile-optimized websites offer a far better experience to your users.

    So I don’t think Oracle is right here. ;)

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