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Apple buys Texture, a digital magazine subscription service

Apple buys Texture, a digital magazine subscription service
Apple aims to top $50 billion in annual services revenue by 2021. (Kimihiro Hoshino / AFP/Getty Images)

Apple Inc. said it is acquiring Texture, a digital magazine service that lets users subscribe to more than 200 magazines for $9.99 a month.

Texture, offered via the app stores of Apple, Google and Amazon.com Inc., bolsters Apple's efforts in online services and media. The Cupertino, Calif., company aims to top $50 billion in annual services revenue by 2021, and a magazine subscription service would likely contribute to that.

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The deal may help Apple boost relations with news outlets that have become wary of Facebook Inc. and Google. Some publishers reported losing online traffic from Facebook after the social media network recently refocused on content from users' friends and relatives.

Texture's magazine catalog includes Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Bloomberg Businessweek. The app is currently run by Next Issue Media LLC, owned by a group of publishers and other companies including Hearst Corp., Meredith Corp., News Corp. and Rogers Communications Inc. In 2014, private-equity firm KKR invested $50 million in the company.

Apple made its first big push to integrate magazines and newspapers into its devices with an application called Newsstand in 2011. It replaced that with the more comprehensive Apple News service a couple of years ago.

Apple typically doesn't formally announce acquisitions of smaller companies, but its services executive Eddy Cue, who oversees its media efforts, is speaking at the South by Southwest conference this week in Austin, Texas.

"We're excited Texture will join Apple, along with an impressive catalog of magazines from many of the world's leading publishers," Cue said in a statement. "We are committed to quality journalism from trusted sources and allowing magazines to keep producing beautifully designed and engaging stories for users."

At the conference, Cue said Texture is "beloved" by iPad customers and said users of the existing Apple News service follow more than 20 publications, up from four a couple of years ago. "We've become a pretty decent player in a short amount of time," he added.

Apple didn't say how much it paid for Texture.

This is Apple's second reported acquisition of 2018. In January it bought BuddyBuild, an app development service based in Canada.

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