McGraw-Hill: No snub from Apple’s iPad event

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When McGraw-Hill Chief Executive Terry McGraw appeared to confirm details of Apple’s iPad the day before its unveiling, many pundits gasped with horror.

They predicted that the wrath of Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs would smite McGraw-Hill, relegating the New York publisher to digital insignificance. Would Jobs, a veritable Godfather when it comes to Silicon Valley, merely slap McGraw-Hill on the wrist? Or would it suffer banishment to digital purgatory?


When Jobs finally produced the fabled iPad at a gala news conference yesterday, the pundits nodded knowingly. A slide showing the list of publishers that had signed on to Apple’s iBooks store did not show McGraw-Hill, even though it is ‘bigger than most of the publishers on the slide,’ as VentureBeat pointed out in a post entitled ‘McGraw-Hill axed from iPad launch after CEO leaks on TV.’

Turns out McGraw-Hill may not have been intended to be part of the presentation in the first place. A spokesman confirmed this with The Times the night before the Apple event and hours after McGraw made his comments on CNBC.

Here’s the company’s official statement today on the matter:

“As a company deeply involved in the digitization of education and business information, we were as interested as anyone in the launch of the new device, although we were never part of the launch event and never in a position to confirm details about the device ahead of time. On Tuesday afternoon Mr. McGraw appeared on CNBC in a wide ranging interview to discuss our earnings announcement and growth projections for 2010. His speculative comments about Apple’s pending launch, which he shared earlier in the day in a call with investors, were simply intended to suggest that if the new device were to use iPhone applications, many of our education products would be compatible with the technology and could be made easily available on it. “Unfortunately, it seems that many mistakenly interpreted his comments as being more specific to yesterday’s announcement.”

Another potential reason why the publisher was not included: The titles featured in Apple’s presentation were so-called trade books such as novels and best-sellers, not textbooks. McGraw’s comments referred to textbooks, which presumably would be involved in a separate set of announcements. McGraw-Hill would not comment on whether it would sell its textbooks in Apple’s iBook store. For that, you’ll have to wait for the next chapter of the iPad story.

-- Alex Pham

Follow me: @AlexPham