Yesterday federal judge Denise L. Cote, of United States District Court in Manhattan, ruled against Apple in the United States vs. Apple Inc., et. al. ebook case. Anyone who thinks this isn’t a terrible outcome for publishers, authors, and readers, isn’t paying attention.
Publishers may have won the pricing war, but the real struggle is now on for users’ attention. Because the iPad is not a dedicated e-book reader there are, unfortunately, many things that users can do with the device other than read books. Unlike the Kindle, where publishers have the device all to themselves iPad users will be able to surf the Web, play games, watch movies, view their photo collections, listen to music, watch TV, send e-mail, work on a presentation, or access over one hundred thousand applications that do any number of distracting things.
The iPad moves electronic reading to a multi-function device, marking the end of proprietary interfaces controlling commerce for e-reading.