I think this is a big deal. As I have written before, Apple has changed their terms of service requiring any in-app purchases to go through them. This gives Apple a 30% cut of any transaction. This is not possible with many businesses like newspapers and books. Their margins are simply to small to make this possible.
The Financial Times is the first major publication to develop a HTML5 web app that requires no store. With an HTML5 app, you download the app directly over the Internet. Since it is HTML5, it will work offline or online. So on any device, it will work just like an app. This is great for HTML5 and the development of web apps. This whole stance by Apple is silly. All it does is create competition for their app store.
But in this case, what is bad for Apple, it good for the Web.
The Financial Times Tries an Apple End-Run – AllThingsD