Apple, Google face off on subscription sales (week in review)

Competition to sell you magazine subscriptions heats up, while new smartphones have everyone's ear. Also: FBI pushes Net wiretapping.

Apple's iPad James Martin/CNET

Much like the kids who come to your door to sell you subscriptions to Sports Illustrated or Vibe, Apple and Google are battling each other to be your digital newsstand.

Apple got the tussle rolling with the launch of a subscription service in its App Store for magazines, newspapers, videos, and music. In a move that goes a long way to addressing concerns of many in the magazine and newspaper sectors, Apple said publishers will be allowed to set the price and the length of the subscription term. The processing of payments will be Apple's job and handled within the App Store. Apple will collect 30 percent of the revenue.

However, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are interested in whether Apple may be violating antitrust laws by routing customers through Apple's App Store and taking a 30 percent cut of each subscription, sources told the newspaper. Regulators' interest in the subscription terms is reportedly preliminary and might not lead to a formal investigation.

Then, the day after Apple officially shared details of its subscription plan, Google announced the launch of One Pass , its online charging service for newspapers and magazines. Google's rival service offers two big differences from Apple's: content providers will get to keep 90 percent of revenue from One Pass sales, and publishers will retain control of consumer data.

With Google taking 10 percent of transactions and allowing publishers to control the consumer data they gather (something Apple has been unwilling to do), this sets the stage for how much it's appropriate for market makers like Google and Apple to skim from sales sold through their systems, which offer companies access to millions of customers.
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•  FBI to announce new Net-wiretapping push
•  NSA chief wants to protect 'critical' private networks
•  Defense Dept. proposes armoring civilian networks
•  Securing the smart grid no small task
•  Bill Clinton bars press from RSA talk this week

Apple making a shrunken iPhone? That would be tricky

Rumors are swirling about an "iPhone Nano," or a smaller, cheaper iPhone that Apple is readying. Trying to imagine how the iPhone could be smaller or more lightly featured and still worth buying is difficult.
•  Report: Smaller iPhone 'intended' for summer release
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•  Report: Next iPhone to feature larger screen
•  Verizon iPhone sales rumored to be underwhelming
•  Report: Next iPhone might be cheaper, but not smaller

Apple report reveals grim truths behind gadgets

Progress report on its suppliers' practices marks first time Apple acknowledges worker poisonings. Also, many suppliers fail to comply with child-labor, other guidelines.
•  Apple reports on Foxconn, supplier workplace standards
•  iPad kicks Apple into top slot in mobile PC market

Android app market growing faster than iPhone apps

Lookout says Android market could overtake Apple App Store in number of apps by mid-2012 if current growth rate continues.
•  Apple remains king of app-store market

HTC buddies up with Facebook for two social-networking phones

After denying early reports, HTC and Facebook reveal two Android smartphones, the HTC ChaCha and Salsa, built around the popular social networking site.

Microsoft CEO: Mobile is all about the platform

Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer in his opening keynote address at the Mobile World Congress emphasizes that the battle in mobile is more about the software platform rather than individual devices.
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•  Microsoft's ecosystem is a tough sell to Verizon

CEO: Intel-powered smartphones arriving this year

The chipmaker has been trying to penetrate the mobile device market for years. Paul Otellini says Intel-powered smartphones will finally arrive for real in 2011.
•  Intel unveils MeeGo tablet interface

Netflix Android-bound via future Snapdragon devices

The on-demand movie and TV streaming service is finally coming to Android, thanks to Qualcomm's processor technology.
•  Netflix streaming finally arrives on Boxee Box
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Also of note
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