Digital Transformation

Flipboard’s CEO reflects on the many failed ‘Flipboard killers’ as Apple News edges closer

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

September 8, 2015 | 3 min read

The chief executive of Flipboard remains confident his company can endure the impending release of Apple News – the Californian giant’s upcoming news aggregation tool.

Mike McCue, Flipboard CEO and co-founder told Fortune that in the five years since the app's launch - ironically on Apple's iPad - there have been many supposed “Flipboard killers, from big and small companies alike”.

He reflected on how the app survived market saturation precipitated by the likes of “Google, with Current and then Newsstand, and Yahoo, AOL and Facebook,” claiming that “the size of the opportunity in this market is represented by the size and quality of these competitors”.

Some have said the launch of Apple News represents a death blow to Flipboard, in response McCue said: “We deeply respect and take seriously what Apple is trying to do,” adding: “There’s no question Apple has a unique advantage, in that they run iOS.”

However, Apple’s entry into the market is also curbed by “their focus is to build and sell hardware” he claimed.

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“They are not an advertising company, and it’s very very hard to build an ecosystem geared around advertising and subscriptions unless you are totally focused on that - their interest is in selling more devices.”

McCue said Flipboard will remain focused on providing the best possible user experience instead.

Apple’s initial media group partnerships sits at 50, Flipboard’s at 350. The Flipboard CEO hinted that ad-blocking which will soon be available on Apple devices could dissuade publishers from putting all their eggs in that particular basket.

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