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CNNTech: Apple vs. publishers: Why the tech firm already won

CNNTech  - Feb 17, 2011 By Pete Cashmore, Special to CNN

CNN) — Apple this week announced a planto levy a 30 percent fee on publishers who charge subscriptions through its App Store on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The fee applies to newspapers, magazines and digital books (not to mention music and videos).

What’s more, Apple’s rules dictate that publications can’t offer these same subscriptions at a lower price outside the App Store. And in another blow to publishers, customers will have the option not to share their details — name, e-mail address and ZIP code — with the publisher.

Some publishing industry analysts are aghast at the proposal, claiming that the rate is much too steep and the terms too strict. I don’t disagree: There’s no doubt that Apple is using its dominant position in digital distribution to strong-arm publishers.

But the fact that the tech giant can propose such onerous terms without blinking points to the fact that the battle is already lost: The balance of power has permanently, irreversibly shifted from the media companies to the tech firms.

Is it possible that Google’s Android operating system and freshly announced “One Pass” subscriptions service could challenge Apple’s leadership in digital distribution?

Android is notoriously poor at persuading users to pay for apps, and the Google Checkout payments service has received a lukewarm response.

But let’s imagine that Google is one day able to exert some pricing pressure on Apple that forces the latter to negotiate friendlier terms with publishers — then we’d still have a situation in which the tech companies get to dictate pricing over the publishers, albeit with Apple taking a slightly smaller share than it might like.

Perhaps a better way to phrase this epiphany is not so much that Apple has already won but that publishers already lost — if not to Apple, then to whichever tech company dominates digital distribution in the long term. To repeat our mantra: The balance of power has permanently, irreversibly shifted from the media companies to the tech firms.

Let’s imagine some bolder moves from the publishing industry. Perhaps multiple publishers could band together in opposition, starving the App Store of content until better terms can be negotiated. Or maybe they could seek to challenge Apple on antitrust grounds. Either might prove effective in leading to slightly better terms for publishers.

But unless a media company is able to build a better tablet or a better phone or convince customers to return to paper magazines and newspapers, nothing changes the fact that the publishing industry has lost control of its most valuable asset: distribution.

It was always the printing presses and the delivery trucks, not the words themselves, that were the seat of the publishing industry’s power. The audience has moved elsewhere, and this emigration has birthed a new gatekeeper.



Saving the world png


Definition of a Logical Design

What is a Logical Design?

A logical design is the CONCEPTUAL BLUEPRINT of a software application, illustrating entities, relationships, rules, and processes.

Sample of a Logical Design and Flow Chart

Sample of a Logical Design / Flow Chart

You may have helped create a logical design one without even knowing it.

What may come to mind for many people is a white board full of boxes and arrows created in a live meeting in a business setting. The truth is that almost all of us are involved in a design process whether we know it or not.
When we use Google to search, our search behavior – what we enter and the choices we click on – tells Google developers how to improve the design of their search engine. When presented with a list of ads, we choose the most interesting one. This tells advertisers how to better design their ads. When we stop using Hotmail and switch to Gmail, you could argue that our use of their application or our defection to Gmail is actually helping Microsoft redesign their mail platform.

So what does this have to do with a LOGICAL DESIGN?

First is important to understand that every software application ever produced starts with a logical design.  It is the blueprint guiding the developer.

The logical design tells the developer what processes the application must support, and are usually very detailed.  All software applications model some process, most support hundreds.

Examples of everyday processes that require software, and the require a logical design:


Productivity / Communication



  • Airline Ticket search and buy
  • Amazon Kindle ordering
  • listing a “make me move” price  Zillow
  • Selling your weights on Craigslist
  • Email
  • Word Processing
  • creating a Powerpoint presentation (PPT)
  • Facebook, Twitter
  • GPS Directions
  • Google search
  • Yahoo Answers
  • Bing Shopping
  • FDA report on Boniva
  • University of Phoenix
  • Asphalt
  • Angry Birds
  • Bubbles
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops
  • World of Warcraft: Cataclysm

In contrast, a physical design contains things like the following:

  • Screenshots
  • Mockups
  • Server configuration
  • Network Configuration
  • Device support (Mac, Windows, Mobile)
  • Platform support (web, mobile, tablet)
  • Software requirements (must support password access to account page, etc)

Other helpful resources explaining the definition of Logical Design

Database Design (wikipedia) excerpt:  Database design is the process of producing a detailed data model of a database. This logical data model contains all the needed logical and physical design choices and physical storage parameters needed to generate a design in a Data Definition Language, which can then be used to create a database

Integration Definition for Information Modeling (wikipedia) excerpt :IDEF1X (Integration Definition for Information Modeling) is a data modeling language for the developing of semantic data models. IDEF1X is used to produce a graphical information model which represents the structure and semantics of information within an environment or system

Logical Versus Physical Database Modeling (developer.com)  excerpt: After all business requirements have been gathered for a proposed database, they must be modeled. Models are created to visually represent the proposed database so that business requirements can easily be associated with database objects to ensure that all requirements have been completely and accurately gathered. Different types of diagrams are typically produced to illustrate the business processes, rules, entities, and organizational units that have been identified.

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About the author

Keven M. Thibeault has been developing applications since 1990.  He now serves as principal and CEO at Logical Design Database Solutions based in Boston, Mass, and provides product strategy and expert application development services for web, mobile, tablet, and enterprise platforms targeting startups, interactive agencies, and technology clients.


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