For the old-line moguls atop companies like Dow Jones, New York Times Company, Condé Nast and Time Inc., the excitement around the iPad must have seemed like a godsend: Suddenly, they could stick to their old business models, with only the slightest of tweaks, and maybe even return to the salad days of long lunches and other perks. The pain of adapting to the cutthroat world of Web publishing could perhaps be avoided, or at least delayed.
And yet the signs keep piling up that this was a false dawn—and that, far from a savior, Apple’s CEO is (gasp!) actually a capitalist American business executive, at least as ruthless and calculating as any other. The Pixar chief-turned-Disney-director has been predictably savvy in dealing with the media, using their weakness to grow Apple’s control over distribution, creation and even content itself.
Should anyone be surprised that the master of media manipulation should be able to fool publishers?