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Apple to Tighten Control on Content

Published on February 3, 2011
by Yukari Iwatani Kane and Jessica E. Vascellaro

Apple Inc. is working to funnel more electronic sales of magazines, newspapers and other content through its iTunes store, an effort that is making some publishers uneasy.

The effort is aimed largely at spurring more subscription sales of digital content for Apple’s hit iPad, which the company hopes to accelerate with the aid of a coming new delivery and billing system that it discussed at an event Wednesday. At the same time, Apple is tightening enforcement of a rule governing how some apps for the iPad must handle sales, a shift that affects online books as well as other electronic publications.

Apple’s moves are a hot topic, in part because they could require publishers to share revenue from some content with the Silicon Valley company for the first time. The hardware maker also could require that publishers forgo collecting valuable subscriber data they rely on to market their products, an issue that has emerged as a sticking point in discussions with publishers, people familiar with the matter say.

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