Apple eyes Flipboard terrain as Newsstand gets nixed, report says

The Flipboard news-reader, rumored to be an acquisition target for the likes of Twitter, Yahoo and Google, could face a new threat from Apple.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Flipboard could be in Apple's crosshairs. Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Flipboard, the Silicon Valley-based startup that has reportedly caught the eye of some online giants, could be in the crosshairs of none other than Apple.

Apple is expected to announce a new app that will mimic the functionality of Flipboard, allowing users to skip through content from several major publishers, including The New York Times, Conde Nast, and Heart, Recode is reporting, citing people who claim to know of its plans. The move will coincide with Apple's reported decision to kill off Newsstand, its iOS app that gives users access to subscription content, including magazines and newspapers.

Recode isn't say when the app may be announced, though Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote today seems like a safe bet. It's also unclear just how similar to Flipboard the service would be.

If Apple does launch its own reading app, the move would help illustrate the growing importance of news-gathering in the technology space. Flipboard provides a curated content list to users, feeding them content from a wide range of publishers. The app is one of the more popular options for news-seekers, attracting 65 million users since its launch five years ago.

News continues to be a driving force in Internet usage. Facebook earlier this month announced its Instant Articles plan to publish content from nine media outlets directly to Facebook's iPhone app. Facebook's move is considered a major step in the company's efforts to use news to increase people's interaction and time on its service. On a similar note, Twitter has long been an engine for sharing news and has helped drive the site's popularity. Snapchat is also trying to position itself as a news-gathering engine.

All of that interest in news has helped Flipboard attract suitors, according to several reports. Twitter, Yahoo, and Google are all reportedly eyeing a possible Flipboard acquisition, though it's unclear how advanced the talks are between the companies. A report last month suggested Twitter was willing to pay as much as $1 billion for Flipboard.

A move by Apple could be an attempt by the company to throw some cold water on Flipboard and its ongoing success. Apple has faced issues attracting readers to its Newsstand app, and many publishers have complained that the service made it too difficult for readers to find their content. The new offering, according to Recode, would surface content more easily and make it available for free in the hopes of boosting readership.

For publishers, the move could prove to be a lucrative one. According to Recode's sources, Apple would give publishers 100 percent of all of the advertising revenue they sell on their content. If Apple needs to step in to help sell advertising, the company would take a slice of the revenue, according to Recode.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.