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Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Apple is set to debut a news subscription business at a March 25 media event, according to BuzzFeed News. But there's a hitch: A number of key publishers are balking at the terms Apple is offering, per the Wall Street Journal.
Among the concerns are both Apple's reported take of almost half the revenue and access to customer data.
The big picture: The news industry is already reeling from the massive shift of ad dollars to the two digital advertising giants, Google and Facebook. Now it looks to publishers as if Apple wants a cut of their subscription cash, too.
Why it matters: For Apple, subscriptions to news, video and other content are a way to grow revenue in an era of slowing iPhone sales. News publishers, too, want new revenue opportunities, but are mindful of giving away the store to a tech company.
Flashback: Similar concerns were raised the last time Apple tried to offer subscriptions as part of Newsstand, an attempt to sell individual publications for reading on iPads and other iOS devices.
Details: Apple told publishers it plans to take roughly half of subscribers' fees and then split the other half among participating news outlets based on story views, according to the WSJ.
Between the lines: Several publishing executives told my colleague Sara Fischer that a 50% revenue-share agreement was way too high. Most, though, said Apple was probably just starting negotiations high.
Publishing execs also stressed their unwillingness to give up the business advantages of a direct relationship with customers.
Yes, but: So far, Apple News' free offering has helped some publishers attract new readers to their content, even if it's not yet a clear money-maker. And one way or another, bundled news subscriptions look inevitable.
What’s next: Apple has a little over a month to get publishers on board before the announcement.
Newly inaugurated California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed Tuesday that consumers should get a cut of the revenue that tech companies make off their data. The move would go beyond a strict privacy law passed in the state last year.
"I applaud this legislature for passing the first-in-the-nation digital privacy law last year," Newsom said in a statement. "But California's consumers should also be able to share in the wealth that is created from their data."
Why it matters: California is home to many of the tech companies that would be affected, so this early move by the governor to take on the industry is notable.
What they're saying:
The Government Accountability Office, which gives nonpartisan advice to Congress, said in a report yesterday that it's "an appropriate time for Congress to consider comprehensive internet privacy legislation," Axios' David McCabe writes.
Why it matters: The finding adds fuel to calls for a national privacy law, as state and foreign regulators crack down on data-hungry companies like Google and Facebook.
Details: The report includes interviews with people linked to Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook as well as outside academics and privacy advocates.
What they found: The authors identified a split between many industry representatives who believed the current system worked fairly well, while outsiders said it needed to be modified to protect consumers. Per GAO...
"Comprehensive internet privacy legislation that establishes specific standards and includes traditional notice-and-comment rulemaking and broader civil penalty authority could enhance the federal government's ability to protect consumer privacy."
The big picture: The release of the report coincides with a bigger push among lawmakers of both parties — including now-in-charge House Democrats — to craft a privacy agenda.
What's next: House Democrats have yet to coalesce around a single piece of privacy legislation or a group of bills.
Go deeper: Read David's full piece here.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gives himself a "C" grade for "taking responsibility," which was one of the most specific answers he gave during a live Twitter Q&A with journalist Kara Swisher Tuesday, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva writes.
Why it matters: Twitter remains an obsession for many journalists and one resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but many users have grown deeply unhappy with the prevalence of harassment and abuse in many conversations, along with the company's seemingly inconsistent enforcement of its own community rules.
Highlights from Dorsey's discussion with Swisher:
Yes, but: More than anything, Dorsey and Swisher's conversation highlighted how poorly suited Twitter's design is to this type of interaction.
Rudy the bulldog wasn't best in show at the Westminster Dog Show. He didn't even win his category, but he is fun to watch.