A few months ago I had a series of posts on the Amazon-Macmillian-Apple fracas, related to publishing and sale of e-books. A recent New Yorker piece provides a very nice discussion of the role of technological innovation and competition in reordering the publishing business, with Apple, Amazon, and Google all playing major roles. One of the more interesting aspects is the blurring of the lines as firms integrate, disintegrate, or just try to make money. My favorite line in the piece is this:
In (Amazon’s Russ) Grandinetti’s view, book publishers—like executives in other media—are making the same mistake the railroad companies made more than a century ago: thinking they were in the train business rather than the transportation business.
I’m not sure I have much to add to the article at this point, except to say that I recommend it. And that you will probably be reading some version of this story as a business school case if you happen down the MBA route.
In fact, you will probably be discussing this in an Industrial Organizations course if you aren’t careful.