Apple is buying Texture, the digital magazine distributor

Apple has purchased Texture, a digital magazine distributor and subscription service that lets users consume all or part of more than 200 magazines. The service works on both Apple and Android devices, and Apple says that won’t change after it completes the transaction.

Texture is owned by a consortium of big publishers, as well as private equity firm KKR, which put $50 million into the company in 2015.

Texture was launched in 2012 as Next Issue Media. It was an attempt for big publishers to own their own version of Netflix or Hulu, and give them control of digital distribution instead of being cut out by Apple or Google. In 2016, Texture was chosen by the App Store editorial team for the annual Best Of selections, which celebrate the most innovative apps and games for iOS users.

“We’re excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the world’s leading publishers,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users.”

“I’m thrilled that Next Issue Media, and its award-winning Texture app, are being acquired by Apple,” said John Loughlin, CEO of Next Issue Media / Texture. “The Texture team and its current owners, Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, Rogers Media and KKR, could not be more pleased or excited with this development. We could not imagine a better home or future for the service.

The move will certainly raise eyebrows amongst many publishers who are still smarting from the burnt offering that was Newsstand. As Mashable so quaintly said in 2015, “The (Newsstand) app launched with plenty of fanfare and initial optimism, but as the reality of a middling product and an untenable business model hit, Apple left Newsstand to die.”

Newsstand is now dead, but its legacy exists as yet another painful reminder of how Silicon Valley’s finest often court publishers only to leave them in the dust a few years later when publishing initiatives don’t work out as planned. John Gruber, an influential Apple scribe, famously said at the time, “For me, Newsstand is a place where apps go to be forgotten.”

Let’s hope this time it’s different. For everyone.

Further reading: 

RecodeApple is buying Texture, the digital magazine distributor