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Apple News executive steps down as service struggles to attract subscribers

(Image: Apple, Inc./Handout)

Liz Schimel, the lead Apple executive in charge of the company’s mobile news product, is stepping down after more than a year on the job, according to a report.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported the departure, citing “people familiar with the move.” Apple has not officially commented on Schimel’s decision to leave.

The departure comes less than a year after the launch of Apple News Plus, an aggregate service that aimed to raise revenue for Apple and partner news organizations by charging Apple device users a premium to access content from partners like the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and Conde Nast. Schimel joined the company from Conde Nast.

Apple News is used by more than 100 million Apple customers, but the company has had a hard time convincing users of its free service to pay $10 a month for Apple News Plus. Analysts say Apple’s failure to forge an agreement with two of the country’s biggest news publishers — the New York Times and the Washington Post — may be to blame for the lack of interest in Apple News’ premium product.

To boost subscriptions, Apple is weighing the possibility of bundling Apple News Plus with two of its other premium offerings, Apple Music and Apple TV Plus, Bloomberg reported last year. Apple has not commented on the report.

Apple Flops

After struggling in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Apple reversed course and dominated the fields of home computing and consumer electronics thanks to the re-hiring of co-founder Steve Jobs and the introduction of several blockbuster products and services, including the iMac, Macbook Air, iTunes, iPhone, the App Store and iPad.

But not everything introduced by Apple has received a warm welcome, and some products that were touted by the company as innovative and groundbreaking. Here’s a look at some of those products:

  • Ping: A social networking service integrated into iTunes that aimed to bring artists like Coldplay and Lady Gaga closer to their fans. The service launched in 2010 to great fanfare but failed to make an impression with Apple users; it closed two years later.
  • Homepod: Apple proved voice assistants were useful with the introduction of Siri in 2011, but it ceded ground in the area of home assistants and smart speakers to Amazon and Google by being a late entrant with its Homepod speaker, an expensive high-fidelity music device that doesn’t perform quite as many smart home or assistant tasks as similar and cheaper speakers offered by other companies.
  • Apple TV Plus: The company’s first foray into the streaming television space long dominated by Netflix and Amazon has failed to attract interest from consumers, even though Apple has offered generous year-long free subscriptions for millions of people who purchase eligible Apple devices.
  • AirPower: Some of Apple’s devices are capable of wireless charging, and nothing pairs better with a new feature like a premium Apple accessory that takes full advantage of it. Enter AirPower, a wireless charging mat that offered to juice up everything from Apple’s iPhones to its AirPods and Apple Watches simultaneously. For reasons unknown, Apple missed its delivery date of AirPower and eventually scrapped the product.
  • Apple Maps: After a falling out with Google, Apple decided it would build its own maps product for its portable devices (and eventually its line of personal computers). In 2012, the company made Apple Maps the default map service for iPhone and iPad users — and soon felt the wrath of millions of unhappy users after the service provided faulty directions and other weird glitches. Apple CEO Tim Cook eventually apologized for the botched rollout.
  • iPod Hi-Fi: As mentioned, whenever Apple announced new hardware or features, it naturally wants to make accessories that complement it. You’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of the iPod Hi-Fi, a $349 stereo that allowed people to fill their room with the sounds of their iPod — and that’s it. The iPod Hi-Fi lasted a little more than a year before Apple discontinued it in 2007.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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