Another timely Steve Jobs reality check.
But this vision has two fundamental flaws — one psychological and one economic. The psychological flaw is that news stories and other forms of content that appear in newspapers and magazines (with very few exceptions) are not the same as music or even movies or books, in the sense that users want to keep them forever and read or watch them repeatedly, as media gurus Clay Shirky and Jeff Jarvis have also pointed out. In addition, all of that content is currently available in a completely legal way for nothing, from the websites of the content creators themselves, whereas music and movies are not.
The bottom line is that an iTunes for news might be in Steve Jobs’ best interests — primarily because it might help to sell iPads — but it’s not clear that it would be in media outlets’ best interests, as attractive as it seems. Nor is it obvious that it would even work, if it ever actually came to pass. More than anything, it feels like an industry grasping at any straw it can, in the hope of building a life raft.