Google is secretly mounting an e-newsstand initiative to create a rival to the iPhone's dominance in the 'digital newsstand' market. It is being spear-headed by Stephanie Tilenius, its vice president of e-commerce. According to a Wall Street Journal Report, Google has discussed its intentions with a range of publishers, including Time Warner Inc.'s Time Inc. unit, Condé Nast and Hearst Corp. Unnamed sources have indicated Google has courted publishers by suggesting that it would take a smaller sales slice on Android apps than the 30% cut Apple currently takes on iTunes. Google has also proposed sharing personal data about app buyers with publishers to help with marketing related products or services.
When the Wall Street Journal requested a comment from Google, the reply was, "We've consistently said we're talking with publishers about ways we can work together, including whether we can help them with technology for subscription services. We have nothing specific to announce at this time."
Apparently, many publishers are frustrated with the current way Apple handle's their products. Some indicate they are concerned that Apple will make it more difficult to find apps that don't use its billing system. Also, the 30% cut Apple insists upon is above the norm for the industry.
It'll be interesting to see how this pans out. Usually, when Google decides it wants into a market, especially one that is related to information, they eventually swarm in and dominate everything. I can't see how this is not a good move on Google's part, although I am a bit leery that they want to so freely share personal information with publishing companies. It's not like personal-data mining is really all that new, but it would be nice to see some type of system that either minimizes the 'breach of privacy', or allows people to 'opt out'. Regardless, I still think the idea of a digital newsstand is a good one when implemented well. I would love to get a digital subscription on my Android for all the Mags that I like to read. What do you guys think?
Source: WSJ via Phonearena