September 23, 2014 Last Updated 12:46 pm

Apple acquires the digital magazine publishing platform PRSS, though it might do with it, if anything, is uncertain

Publishing platform is the engine behind the popular digital-only magazine TRVL, and acquisition may more about adding the team than any digital magazine initiative

One digital publishing platform you won’t find in our new Guide to Digital Publishing Platforms is PRSS, now we know why: Apple has bought the platform according to the Dutch website iCulture

TRVL-iPad-sm-2012PRSS is the digital publishing platform created by the team behind the digital-only magazine TRVL, one of the more popular, and oft promoted apps in the Apple Newsstand. PRSS was created when the publishing team, led by Jochem Wijnands and Michel Elings, were looking for an alternative to WoodWing’s platform. “We are really into less is more,” Elings told TNM in the summer of 2012. “I turned off 90 percent of what you can do with WoodWing because I don’t think it helps the user.”

PRSS was in beta for much of last year, but debuted in time to be include in the first edition of TNM’s Guide to Digital Publishing Platforms which was a large section of our magazine app Tablet Publishing. This year, however, the team said that they would prefer to have Prss omitted from this year’s edition. Now we know why as Apple has acquired the company.

“It’s built to be flexible, it’s built for the future, and it’s built for iPad – It’s built for Apple,” Wijnands told TNM in late 2012. “And if you want to even take it a step further, I’d say it is built for the best user experience on whatever tablet or device you’re going to publish.”

That Apple would acquire a digital magazine publishing platform is an interesting development. Apple has released its own digital book publishing solution in iBooks Author, though the platform still does not support the iPhone, and has been rarely updated. With the Apple Newsstand in total disrepair, it is odd that Apple would consider an acquisition of a digital publishing platform for magazines.

But earlier this year Adobe partnered with Samsung on the creation of Papergarden for digital magazines that use the Adobe Digital Publishing Platform. It may be that the move was not seen as a friendly to iOS. It is also quite possible, however, that the move is less an acquisition than the hiring of the design team. If so, we may not know much until a new product comes out, if one comes out at all. In any case, the move will send shivers through a number of companies selling into the space waiting to see what Apple has in mind.

Apple sent TNM its usual response to acquisition reports: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

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