Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch


Steve felt that print journalism needs a rescue. He nominated himself as the saviour of the editorial, just as he did with the music industry. Steve’s favourite daily, The New York Times, was one of the first to get with the program.  After 160 years in print and 104 Pulitzers, it’s quite a futureshock to see The NY Times lit up by 1024x768 oleophobic-coated iPad screen. At the All Things Digital Conference Steve laid out his plan to deliver pulp news from the jaws of death:

I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers myself. I think we need editorial more than ever. What we have to do is figure out a way to get people to start paying for this hard-earned content… Price it aggressively and go for volume.[1]

During the AllThingsD video stream of the event, there is an amusing Wall Street Journal commercial showing row after row of iPads printing off in a factory just like a newspaper. Steve’s wingman at the gig was News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch. The old news baron commented on how lovely it is that both the creators of content and technology are "finally getting along."[2]  Rupert is in love with the iPad. During interviews on his network, he interrupts journalists to talk about this “beautiful, beautiful device”, and how he loves “playing with it”. He is on the edge of his seat with excitement about making apps for “the new laptop”. Rupert says “apps” like an old man in a nursing home talks about some new-fangled thing called the internet. His second favorite product-placement is Steve. Interviewers can’t get a word in edgewise as Rupert excitedly hypes Steve as “the best CEO in America” to whom he has “unlimited admiration” because he “makes beautiful products”, and has “such incredible focus and such power inspiring people around him”.[3] Rupert even credits Steve with inventing the laptop! It seems the old man has been exposed to the fatal charm of The Reality Distortion Field.

Seducing Rupert is a perfect example of the depth of Steve’s charisma. They are two very different men. The 79-year-old Rupert is a Citizen Kane-brand of tycoon from a bygone era. He has accessorized himself with the obligatory trophy wife, Wendi Deng - a chaser of both green cards and green currency. She is a decade younger than Rupert’s first born.  Australian by birth, he became an American citizen out of a bureaucratic convenience so that he could legally monopolize the news media. Rupert is patriotic only to the almighty dollar; whereas, Steve is the valiant, romantic, American patriot. He is actually in love with his age-appropriate wife. Despite their personality differences, the business of the iPad has brought them together to break bread.

Both men have decided there will be no more free news on the net. If you want the full story, buy the app and pay the fee. Steve and Rupert are mapping out a future where people will no longer be able to write a blog like this one without actually paying for the scores of articles that have been referenced. Good luck, Steve and Rupert. Very few people want to pay for online news. This is not opinion, this is the conclusion made by Harris Interactive, one of the world’s leading custom market research firms.[4] Asking us to pay for information we have enjoyed free of charge for so long may be a little too cheeky. The average person will shrug their shoulders indifferently and decide to read a blog instead. Steve’s chivalrous gesture to save us from a “nation of bloggers” may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

[1] Paczkowski, J. (2010, June 1) Apple CEO Steve Jobs Live at D8: All We Want to Do is Make Better Products. All Things Digital. Retrieved from  http://d8.allthingsd.com/20100601/steve-jobs-session/

[2] Dybwad, B. (2010, June 2) Steve Jobs at D8 on Flash, iPad and the post-PC era. Cnn.com. Retrieved from http://articles.cnn.com/2010-06-02/tech/mashable.jobs.d8_1_ipad-iphone-flash?_s=PM:TECH

[3] Sydney Morning Herald (2010, June 3) Murdoch hails Apple's Jobs as top US CEO.
 
[4] Harris Interactive (2010, January 13)  Just Two in Five Americans Read a Newspaper Almost Every Day. Retrieved from http://www.harrisinteractive.com/vault/Harris_Interactive_Poll_Media_Newspaper_Readers_2010_01.pdf

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