"I got a glimpse of the future last weekend with the Apple iPad. It is a wonderful thing," he he is reported to have told attendees of a National Press Club event in the US. "If you have less newspapers and more of these it may well be the saving of the newspaper industry," he said.
Forgiving the grammar, I love the qualified nature of all this. He’s hunting around for something to save a distressed business model and has noticed (months after everyone else) a gadget that might ride to the rescue in the nick of time. Hey, this thing ‘may’ work guys!
No doubt it will have occurred to Murdoch that the iPad, and other devices resembling it as means of distributing digital content, might also work against his titles.
The iPad isn’t like a website screen, an essentially open technology with no royalties. The iPad belongs to Apple, a company with a record if inserting itself into the buying chain as a grand middle-man, and that will cost money and cede some control.
The iPad is a device that will be open to anyone with the money to create content, not just newspapers big enough to incur huge printing and distribution expense in the old model. Being a content baron in the digital age is not going to be an easy fight between a handful of moneyed publishing houses. This is why so many of them are worried.
I blogged on this old-new, Murdoch-Jobs axis at length recently, but it doesn’t hurt to restate my point once again. The sight of Murdoch with an iPad in his hands, extolling its virtues as if he’s half way to Damascus, could yet cause him to eats his words one day, digitally of course.
The iPad is saviour for now, but with a large red danger symbol attached.
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