It appears Apple (AAPL) has no interest in competing with Amazon by opening its own e-book and e-newspaper store. Either that or it’s bluffing.
In a note today, RBC analyst Mike Abramsky says he left a recent meeting with Apple executives feeling that Apple was “less enthusiastic” about the online books/newspaper market, relative to video, “given unattractive industry structure.”
This suggests to us that Apple will instead continue to let media companies themselves — and Amazon, etc. — sell e-books and e-periodicals on the iPhone and forthcoming Apple Tablet via the iTunes App Store, taking a 30% cut off the top. (This would be instead of Apple aggregating and selling their own e-books via a proprietary store.)
Abramsky’s anecdote sounds like something a source in the e-book industry told us earlier this year: That Apple may have initially planned to enter the e-book business a few years ago, but based on how archaic and screwed up the book publishing industry is — worse than the music industry, our source says — Steve Jobs supposedly scrapped those plans.
Or as AppleInsider notes, Apple could be bluffing again, as they were when they said they had no interest in selling an iPod with video, or an iPod that could make phone calls, etc. But in this case, we think they’re telling the truth. The publishing industry is a mess, and Apple’s 30% margin on iPhone and iPod apps is a great cut for very little work.
Let’s also not forget Apple’s real goal: Selling more high-margin iPhones, iPods, and Macs — not low-margin books.