Business Models Are Hard

Look, let’s face it. The iPad is the most exciting opportunity for the media in many years. But if the press is ceding gatekeeper status, even if it’s only nominally, over its speech, then it is making a dangerous mistake. Unless Apple explicitly gives the press complete control over its ability to publish what it sees fit, the news media needs to yank its apps in protest.

Yes, this is that serious. It needs to wrest back control of its speech from Apple Inc.

It’s Time for the Press to Push Back Against Apple:
Yank iPad apps unless Apple cedes complete control over the right to publish, by Ryan Chittum

In an aside, he includes, “yes, the iPad has a Web browser, but the monetary leverage it could gain with apps is what’s concerning.”

Getting the App Store dropped into its lap is the best thing that’s happened to print media in decades, and arbitrary restrictions are a pretty good deal in exchange for access to hundreds of millions of accounts already set up for more or less one-click purchasing. Yanking apps because you don’t like the restrictions is a perfectly fine recommendation, but I’m not sure what kind of leverage print media really has that would allow it to dictate terms to Apple. Face it, media outlets: building a large base of users that keep active credit cards on file with you is hard work, and Apple—not you—succeeded in doing that work.

(As a matter of fact, no, I don’t think I’m entitled to get news for free. I am a longtime subscriber to quite a few websites.)

Update: Jobs has replied to an inquiry saying that the Fiore app-denial was a mistake that is being fixed. Which is fine—maybe the terms of service were meant to apply to harassment or defamation, or came from an overprotective pen in legal. Maybe Jobs is responding to the “Pulitzer” part of this story. Who knows. The point stands: it’s Apple’s store, not a First Amendment issue.

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