As history is in the making here in Madison with rallies, protests and passion, heat is also rising in the world of digital media. The highly anticipated digital subscription plan announced by Apple received negative remarks by publishers. This initial feeling of discontent is in reaction to a few details of the plan: Apple gets 30 percent of the cut, owns all subscriber data and limits publishers’ options for subscription services outside of Apple. Overall, publishers feel Apple’s plan is too restrictive and financially burdensome.
The Lab’s Josh Benton gives his take on the situation as he describes Apple as setting itself up as toll-taker on the news highway and putting a heavy incentive on converting print readers to tablet readers, but not putting restrictions on browser access within its devices. Other individuals give their opinion also: Dan Gillmor said Apple’s policy is stunningly ignorant; developer Ryan Carson urges users to fight Apple’s “extortion”; even Wall Street Journal poses potential antitrust issues.
On the other hand, the digital subscription might be the most user friendly system ever, according to MG Siegler of TechCrunch. Popular science is the first magazine to test out the waters, followed closely by Wired.
Right when publishers anxieties have peaked, Google swoops down to the rescue a day later to announce their own One Pass digital content system. Contrary to Apple’s 30 percent, Google will only keep 10 percent of publishers’ revenue, as well as allow publishers’ to own subscribers data. The Google plan focuses more on web access than app access.
In a nut shell and similar to Apple’s digital content system, One Pass is a way for online publishers to sell digital content on the Web and through mobile applications using Google Checkout. The system is made easier in that readers can get access to content on many devices simply using their Google e-mail address and password.
Google’s overall goal, said Google spokeswoman Jeannie Hornung, is to “bring publishers a simple way to charge for content they choose to charge for, and for readers to have simple access without any restrictions on which devices they use.”
At this time, One Pass is limited to online newspapers and magazines. Google has not yet signed up any big-name United States publishers, but it has announced some large European partners like Axel Springer in Germany.
The move heightens the competition between Google and Apple over digital content and the devices people use to read, watch and listen to it. I am a huge fan of both Apple and Google, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like two huge companies have a little controversy… It will be interesting to see how the two systems compare down the road.
In other news:
1) I have had the opportunity to be a part of history in the making as the rallies again Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill passionately continue. I have been down to the Capitol almost everyday, ranging from a five hour stay to a 10 minute stay. I have never been so awe stuck in my life. I didn’t expected people to be so heartfelt and determined at the protests. The entire time I was there during my first visit I had goosebumps throughout my stay. To put it simply, it was inspiring. People are fighting for what they believe in, but not only that, they are fighting for each other. Each person there was getting their voice heard to make a difference, sacrificing their time for a better Wisconsin. I can honestly say that I don’t think I will ever experience such a thing, it’s hard to even put into words. One particular moment that brought tears to my eyes happened Thursday afternoon in the Capitol. I was on the a third floor balcony, with a great view of the hundreds of people. From the rotunda one person slowly, very slow, released balloons on fishing wire. The balloons were Valentines day balloons, and he s let the string go little by little. The balloons to rose inch by inch until they were about half way to the top. When the man let the string go, the balloons floated to the ceiling… finally revealing a sign that was previously hidden at the bottom of the string. The sign read, “Power to the People.”
No matter your stance on the bill or your party affiliations, you have to be inspiried by what is happening in Madison and respect the ones who are getting their voice heard. Take 5 minutes out of your day to watch this fantastic video on the protests: We Are Wisconsin.