The days of cutting 500,000 trees down just to produce the Sunday paper are soon coming to an end. Consumers, more than ever, are turning to electronic devices like the iPad and Amazon Kindle to get access to instant news and multimedia. Immediate availability, efficient distribution, and a compact display make it a win-win for consumers and content providers, but Apple, with its power device—the iPad, is flexing its muscles a bit by attempting to make publications play by Apple’s rules. So, have they gone too far?
Just about a week after Apple informed Sony that it would no longer be able to sell content through its Sony Reader Store app on the iPad, Apple is now clashing with another titan, publications. In an effort to capitalize on consumer information and commission for periodical sales, Apple hoped to confine consumers and publications to one purchasing site—the iTunes store.
Seeking 30% for every dollar made when selling a publication, Apple understands the control it has in the tablet market. Publishers, however, don’t see it that way.
Understanding the limitations that would exist without publications on the iPad, publishers have fought back. The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association, which represents 5,200 newspapers in the EU, praises the iPad for its platform, but strongly believes subscriptions should be left to the publishers, not the platform providers.
Knowing the the iPad platform and content must coexist, the two parties fortunately settled on a compromise of allowing subscribers the opportunity to purchase through the iTunes store or a publisher’s independent site, but the question still exists: has Apple taken its superiority a step too far?
Already, Apple, in one way or another, has shut the door on the likes of Adobe, Verizon (before the iPhone 4), and Sony. If a company doesn’t fit within Apple’s model, Apple has no problem finding someone that will, or it will just do it on its own.
It’s certainly hard to argue with the business perspective behind every Apple decision. If it does not match up with the brand or profit vision, it simply will never be partnered with Apple.