Dan Ramsden has some tough words for Google. He sees its recent encouragement of the newspaper industry to experiment as self-serving --- the more papers try to do things online, the more Google's search engine technology benefits.
But he makes an interesting choice in where to place the technological bet. While recent media coverage has suggested Google's open-source design of its Android smartphone offers the greatest opportunity for old media to succeed, Ramsden begs to differ.
He is firmly in the Apple camp. It's the technology of choice by consumers, it's the technology company that has figured out (through iTunes and the iPhone) how to exact a premium for content, so it's the technology the newspaper business should focus on serving.
"Newspaper and magazine owners, who are struggling to redefine their business models for a new online and mobile environment, would probably be well served to align themselves with the platform that can offer a revenue model, and a mobile marketplace, and leave the experimentation and iteration stuff to young entrepreneurs and startups that do not yet have a franchise to protect," he writes.
He suggests: "Style, design, quality control, are all characteristics that will do much more to facilitate the popularity of paid content than one more colorful website that may or may not show up at the top of Google’s search results."