What's up with the WSJ's Anti-Apple Bias?

It’s suddenly become blatant. And their “reporting” blithely disregards facts. Ordinarily, there’s nothing to be surprised about here, but this is The Wall Street Journal, after all, and they did have a proud history of unbiased, impartial reporting.

The Hiltmon has a great summary of these head-scratcher WSJ articles. By making a list, its much easier to see a systematic anti-Apple agenda rather than a few poorly edited articles. This is weird, especially since All Things D had been friendly toward Apple for so long.

What’s up?

I think I can shed a little more light on the WSJ thing by putting a few seemingly disparate threads together.

1) The WSJ is now owned by Murdoch. Despite the fact that it still has its own (distinguished) history, it is now a Murdoch rag. It instantly inherited all that (less distinguished) history. One starting point for solving this puzzle is to assume that they are no more trustworthy than other Murdoch properties.

2) I bet they haven’t gotten over the fact that iOS customers rejected Murdoch’s bloated, 1960’s style magazine. Worse yet, they embraced Marco’s little squirrel publication, The Magazine. It’s operated by something like one FTE (some of Marco’s time and some of Glenn Fleishman’s). I don’t think the Murdoch empire understands how this is possible. Which brings me to more serious points...

3) The WSJ and all papers are in bad trouble. They’re all losing ground to the internet and Murdoch’s attempt at an iOS magazine showed that they don’t know how to win the mobile device business. They are pressured to appeal strongly to the ever-shrinking subset of the population that is willing and able to fund the dead tree business. That segment of the market must be readers who are not internet-savvy.

4) Reputable data indicate that the vast majority of mobile web traffic is from iOS devices, especially internet commerce. That’s the internet-savvy crowd. The WSJ needs to appeal to the remainder — middle and upper class folks who can afford the WSJ and don’t live on the internet.

The Murdoch empire isn’t going to care about people who get their information from the web and their business analysis from Horace.

Disruption Theory Redux

Speaking of Horace, there’s a second-level disruption going on here. First-level is the device and second-level is how the market reacts to the first-level.

  • First-level: iPhone changed the cell phone business forever.
  • Second-level: Content providers need to adapt to that change.

The Murdoch attempt at an iOS magazine betrayed the fact that they are hardwired to try to sell a print magazine to the new audience (i.e., pdfs of whatever they print). That explains why their pseudo-iOS magazine failed.

The internet itself disrupted the dead tree business, but print businesses could still try to sell electronic versions of traditional newspapers and magazines. But iOS is doom for the dead tree proprietors. iOS is the game-changer but they are still trying to play the same game. Their skills and expertise are no longer valued.

Most people think of the New York Times as the primary rival of the Wall Street Journal. But Apple is far worse: They are out to disrupt the business model that they both papers share. It can’t feel good being on the wrong side of a major disruption. Its like being the captain of a steamship as he watches the first Boeing 707 fly overhead. No wonder that Murdoch is pissed.

Apple has reason to expect that businesses that they disrupt don’t like it one little bit.