NewspaperDirect Rips Apple, Inks ASUS

Digital-publishing-technology provider NewspaperDirect railed against Apple’s subscription policy for content-based apps via its App Store, and the company also announced that ASUS will use its technology to offer newspaper content across its line of digital platforms.

In a statement on The PressDisplay Blog, NewspaperDirect said:

It is unjustifiable for a hardware-device manufacturer to charge 30 percent on a transaction that costs them less than 5 percent to perform.

It is inexcusable to force publishers to comply with a manufacturer’s tiered subscription levels under that manufacturer’s terms and conditions not just on its own iOS devices, but on whatever platform the publisher supports under their subscription plan (e.g. Android or BlackBerry, or even PCs).

Apple’s personal data policy is completely self-serving, helping neither publishers nor their subscribers.

Offering opt-in choices for subscribers to share their personal data with publishers is fine for single copy sales, but when a user specifically subscribes to a publisher’s content, the publisher should have access to the personal data of its subscribers. These are not Apple subscribers; these are the publisher’s subscribers.

In a world where personalization is becoming more and more important, publishers must be able to tailor content to the preferences of their subscribers. Under Apple’s policy, this will not be possible.

And what is even worse is that publishers will not be able to count these subscribers in their audited circulation. Ridiculous!

NewspaperDirect vice president of publishing and legal affairs Nikolay Malyarov added:

I’m very dismayed that Apple would make such an unpopular move at this time, given the abundance of high-quality alternate devices entering the market. We’ve already seen how Android-based phones negatively impacted the iPhone market share; I expect nothing less from the open, full-featured Honeycomb-based tablets, BlackBerry, and Windows 7 devices coming soon. People want a wide variety of choice when it comes to devices, and this move will likely compel content owners and publishers to rethink their tablet strategy.

Back to ASUS: Starting this spring, the asus@vibe entertainment content store will offer more than 1,800 full-content newspapers from 94 countries that are available on NewspaperDirect’s PressDisplay.com.

The partnership will initially take effect with ASUS’ Android-based Eee Pad tablets, and support for Win7-based devices will follow.

Vira Chang, head of the eBusiness service department of ASUS, said:

We are committed to exceeding customer expectations in everything we do, and offering only the best in news content on all our platforms is part of that commitment. NewspaperDirect, known for leading innovation in the publishing industry, has proven to be the perfect partner for us. Not only have they responded quickly as our needs have changed, they have delivered a superior product that fits with our philosophy to deliver only the very best to our users.

NewspaperDirect CEO Alexander Kroogman added:

We are extremely pleased that ASUS has selected NewspaperDirect to power the news content of its entertainment platform. Our PressDisplay technology provides an open platform that can be tailored to the needs of hardware vendors that need a way to offer high-value content to their users, and it provides publishers with a way to reach new audiences with content that is safe, secure, and under their complete control.