I’m not trying to be funny. There is no way that his columns are real. No way.
I’m convinced they only serve as link bait. He writes some of the most asinine, unresearched, unfathomable crap ever. There is no way the NY Times hired him to do anything other than troll and bait people.
If Carr is for real than he is a bona fide cubic moron. What’s a cubic moron? It’s a moron times a moron times a moron. In other words, someone who would write this: Let’s Invent an iTunes for News.
Actually, maybe Carr is the smartest person on the planet. He gets paid well to write some extremely poorly thought out — and rarely researched — crap that he doesn’t really understand.
Could you imagine getting paid well to do something really poorly? Something that you obviously put very little thought and time into? Carr’s a lottery winner as a far as I’m concerned.
Here are a couple holes I was able to punch on Carr’s latest gem with very little effort on my part:
- iTunes is not a main money maker for Apple — Apple has said repeatedly that iTunes doesn’t make huge profits. It’s purpose is to get people into the iPod/iTunes ecosystem. That ecosystem has now been extended to the iPhone and Apple TV. Repeat after me: Apple is a hardware company, not a software company. All the software they make is geared towards getting people to buy hardware. Guess why iLife isn’t on Windows? Because Apple doesn’t sell Windows hardware. Simple as that. Certainly the store has a much greater potential to make more money now that it is selling applications and video, which often cost much more than a $0.99 song. But it is difficult to make much of a profit on individual music tracks when Apple has to pay between $0.10 and $.25 per song to credit card companies in transaction fees. Regardless as to whether or not Apple can make a lot of money from iTunes, it’s not relevant to this debate. iTunes was started in order to get people to buy hardware. What hardware do newspapers sell again? Ultimately, if Apple is able to make lots of money from iTunes, it’s probably related to something other than the ala-carte song model.
- When have newspapers ever charged for news? — Newspapers charge for the product that is the newspaper and not the news itself. The physical production of a newspaper is expensive. Printing and distribution can often be more than half a newspapers operating cost. For those of who “pay” for the newspaper (and I do), we often get the newspaper at a subsidized rate. Most newspapers are happy to sell subscriptions below printing and distribution costs in order to boost their circulation numbers. Why? Because newspapers are an ad-supported business. An online-only news company can run much, much leaner than a newspaper could ever hope to. It’s imply comparing apples to oranges.
- Um, the LA Times? — Has Carr forgotten about how the LA Times online revenues are now enough to cover its entire editorial operations? Whoops. We don’t need an iTunes for news to keep news alive. We might need, however, to jettison costly print operations at some point.
- People pay for services — Home newspaper delivery is a service. Generic news (and most news is by definition) is not a service. Simply charging people to read individual stories on newspaper Web sites is not a service. Newspapers can charge for legitimate, bona fide Web services. But what legitimate services have they ever thought of? If newspapers do start successfully charging for services on their Web sites, I doubt they’ll be news related.