"This is a very fluid environment right now," said
eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna. "Things are going to have to
shake out a bit in the course of the next three or six months
before these subscription plans really start rolling out."
For one thing, the TouchPad and every other tablet that lets
publishers sell app subscriptions the way they want to will
certainly pressure the iPad, but they're hardly going to create a
panic at Apple headquarters.
Dominating this year and next
The iPad represented 87.6% of U.S. tablet sales last year, will
make up 79.6% this year and still rack up 74.1% in 2012, according
to eMarketer's latest projections.
"The iPad just might lose some ground if people start making
decisions about which tablet to buy based on the content choices
and the different subscription choices available to them," Mr.
But we're not there yet, he said. "I'm not saying that it's at
that point, where people are going to make a decision based on
subscription choices, especially if there aren't too many
Is that a compromise?
It's also unclear how serious, or appealing to publishers, the
reported Apple compromise offer really is. The compromise, which
was reported by TechCrunch, would let magazine
apps whisk new subscribers to forms demanding the data publishers
want -- as long as the apps also let you subscribe through the much
simpler iTunes, which won't make you fill out any fields. If that
happens, you can guess which path a subscriber is going to
Word of that potential compromise also hadn't reached executives
at one of the major magazine companies. "I'm not sure that was
accurate," one of those executives said. "The whole industry is
engaged in a level of discussion. That was a head-scratcher to