Apple falls behind Google in subscriptions launch

Google and Apple continued their head-to-head battle this week as the search behemoth followed the iPhone firm in unveiling a digital content subscription service - but with a more publisher-friendly version.

Google and Apple continued their head-to-head battle this week as the search behemoth followed the iPhone firm in unveiling a digital content subscription service – but with a more publisher-friendly version.

The companies are no strangers to bumping elbows when it comes to products and services, as the two continue to compete ferociously in the tablet and smartphone markets.

In this particular fight, Google has assumed the “good guy” persona and openly discussed the reasoning behind it taking a 10% cut, as opposed to Apple's 30% cut, on sales of subscriptions through its One Pass service.

In a Wall Street Journal article, Google CEO Eric Schmidt nobly said the company's “intention is for publishers to make all the money,” and that the 10% fee “roughly covers our costs.” Apple didn't provide comment for the article, but earlier in the week Apple CEO Steve Jobs said his company's three times' larger revenue split is justified because “Apple is bringing additional subscribers to publishers.”

Another area of contention between the two is access to consumer information. Apple's service will allow the consumer to decide if their name and e-mail address can be shared with publishers. Google is offering publishers more leeway with the information it will release about consumers.

Ultimately, Apple is coming over as the greedy giant and Google has positioned itself as the innovator willing to work with others for the good of a nascent service.

At least that's the way publishers are viewing it, as Nina Link, CEO of Magazine Publishers of America, said in a Bloomberg article: “Of course, publishers would like the option where they're paying 10% instead of 30%. It's a significant difference. We love the fact there's some choice, and we think there will be even more.”

The often tight-lipped Apple needs to come up with a better strategy to justify the business structure of its service if it wants to deflect criticism and get away from the negative comparison with Google.

Unlike the launch of many of its initiatives, such as the iPad, iPhone, iTunes, and iPod, this time Apple has a significant player launching into the market at the same time with a markedly better offer.

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