John Gruber follows up on Daniel Dilger’s earlier report that Steve Jobs not-so-subtly threatened Push Pop Press if they continued down their eBook path. Turns out, according to Gruber’s source, it wasn’t a threat, it was more of a heads up.
This makes more sense given how closely Push Pop Press worked with Al Gore on Our Choice, their first eBook developed for the iPad. Gore, remember, is a long-time Apple board member and was very close with Jobs.
Remember also that two of Push Pop Press’ founders were Mike Matas, a highly regarded designer at Apple (who actually joined the company when he was just 19), and Kimon Tsinteris, a former senior engineer on Apple’s iPhone team.
I’m sure Apple doesn’t do a lot of “friendly heads-ups”, but if anyone would get one, it’s these guys.
And continuing down that path, it also makes sense that Push Pop Press would get sell to Facebook just a few months after their first launch. They probably could have continued to work with Apple on their titles, but Apple being in the game (with their own format) would seem to shrink the market potential for the company as a whole.
Also interesting, this wasn’t a straight-up talent acquisition by Facebook (which most of their acquisitions are). Facebook owns the Push Pop Press technology. Here’s the key statement from the Push Pop note on the acquisition:
Now we’re taking our publishing technology and everything we’ve learned and are setting off to help design the world’s largest book, Facebook.
Although Facebook isn’t planning to start publishing digital books, the ideas and technology behind Push Pop Press will be integrated with Facebook, giving people even richer ways to share their stories. With millions of people publishing to Facebook each day, we think it’s going to be a great home for Push Pop Press.
So Push Pop figured out a way to continue to use the amazing technology they invented, but without competing head-on with the still-at-the-time-unannounced new iBooks platform.