Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch, BFF?

November 21, 2010: 10:31 AM ET

Not likely. One is a life-long Democrat. The other runs a right-wing media empire.

Murdoch. Credit: World Economic Forum

The Sunday Guardian, borrowing a phrase and most of its facts from a Woman's Wear Daily piece posted three days earlier, describes Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs as "a major fan" of Rupert Murdoch.

Come again?

Could someone who dated Joan Baez and put Al Gore on his board of directors really be a "fan" of the man who created Fox News?

The peg for both reports is the new iPad-only newspaper called The Daily that Murdoch is said to be assembling on the 26th floor of News Corp.'s (NWS) Manhattan skyscraper. With a staff of more than 100 and a cast of editors from the New York Post, the Atlantic, the Sun, ABC News and the New Yorker, it's set to go live in early 2011 according to WWD and within the next 10 days according to the Guardian.

"There's something all wrong with this," says Michael Wolff, editorial director of the Adweek group and author of The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch.

"Murdoch has no feel for, knowledge of, or interest in technology, and has staffed his new effort to deal with it with a lot of like-minded newsroom technophobes," says Wolff, who for the record is no fan of Steve Jobs either.

"What's more, there's no evidence Rupert even knows how to make a newspaper that will appeal to Americans -- he either makes working-class tabloid papers, a form that died in the U.S. in the 1960s, or a kind of bland utility sheet (i.e., the Times in the UK, which arguably the Wall Street Journal is on its way to becoming) that makes Gannett look sexy.

"Also, Jobs and Murdoch have long held a predictable antipathy toward each other," he adds. "Jobs' entire life and oeuvre is contrary to the Murdoch view and style. Murdoch, in my presence, has described Jobs as a 'loon.'

"Murdoch gets special promotion for this new thing -- Jobs' endorsement? iPad button? But what does Jobs get?

"So wtf?"

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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