Google Android newsstand could challenge Apple magazine sales on iPad, iPhone
Google is building an Android newsstand and has begun talks with several magazine publishers in an effort to corral digital content, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The move would ratchet up Google's efforts to challenge Apple with its Android operating system by offering publishers an alternative distribution route on smart phones and tablet computers to that of Apple's iTunes, iPhone and iPad.
Google has discussed the Android newsstand with publishers such as Condé Nast, the Hearst Corp. and Time Warner's Time Inc. and has promised some that it would take a smaller cut than the 30% share of revenue that Apple normally takes through iTunes, according to the Journal report, which cites anonymous sources.
The search-engine giant, also known for its Web-based Google Gmail system, also has offered to give publishers access to certain pieces of personal data from each customer who purchases versions of its publications on Android, the report said.
Apple might also be making similar moves toward sharing more of a customer's personal data with publishers, the Journal reported, as well as other changes to iTunes to help publishers more easily for sell subscriptions and single issues of magazines.
It's unknown when Google might launch its Android newsstand, and it's possible the effort might not come to fruition, the report said.
Officials at Apple and Google could not be reached for comment on the rumors Monday morning.
Google already has dipped a toe into the publishing pool. Last month, Google started selling books online through its Google eBookstore in a move that challenged not only Apple's iBooks, but also online retailer Amazon, maker of the Kindle e-reader.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: A woman holds an iPad displaying the cover of the multimedia magazine Project, developed for the iPad by Richard Branson, head of Virgin Group, at a news conference in New York on Nov. 30, 2010. Credit: Mike Segar / Reuters