Tablets and a Puzzle for Publishers

April 13, 2010

Here’s the article I thoroughly enjoyed: “The Dark Side of Steve Jobs.” If you are interested in online information and tablets like the iPad, it is a must read. I even tucked a copy in my “quotes” file. The main point is that Apple’s Steve Jobs is exerting control over publishers, programmers, and for good measure Adobe. The write up makes a number of interesting observations and weaves a compelling story of how some publishers responded to Steve Jobs’s sales pitch.

Now the iPad may not look as the life boat some publishing companies wanted to float by their executive dining rooms and deliver boat loads of cash. Developing for the iPad will have some costs and require that publishers follow Apple’s rules.

The options available to publishers range from Google, which is not a particularly big hit on the partner league table for some, Amazon which is embroiled in a pricing tug of war, and the raft of other eBook reader manufacturers. Nook, anyone? JooJoo. WePad?

I think that some publishers will have the expertise to become a software development company that can code in Apple’s mandated programming language. Other publishers will try and be swamped by costs and the brutal life of bug fixes, updates, and enhancements. For publishers with deep pockets, no problem. For other publishers, problems.

Who will join the merry band of Googlers? Who will jump on the Amazon Kindle? Who will embrace the other eBook hardware devices? Which publishers will try to diversify and run conferences, become hardware manufacturers, or buy Web 2.0 properties in the hopes of spinning money?

I have no answers. Data will become available with each quarterly report going forward.

Stephen E Arnold, April 13, 2010

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