Over the last few weeks, there was a lot of discussion about the publishing industry’s transformation. And the surprise was that the publishers did not start the discussion, but rather tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple did.

The message for each publisher and for the whole industry is a slap in the face: You are not able to transform to digital successfully on your own!

And this is not the opinion of a single entity; it is a common understanding of the leading companies in the mobile world. Facebook, Google, and Apple are no longer offering platforms or marketplaces; they are providing key solutions to enable content delivery via apps and mobile Web. And they (e.g. iAds by Apple) deliver a new business model in these solutions at the same time.

In no other industry have the top three companies been as necessary. Games and video are full of transformed companies which successfully managed the new media challenges. They changed their organisations, their products, and user communication.

It seems that Europe is the most difficult patient. Google started the Digital News Initiative (DNI) Europe’s publishers only. Google will help the industry in financing tech developments, which will enable publishers to easily move into the digital and especially mobile markets.

But the bad testimony refers not only to technology. It goes much, much deeper. It hits directly in the heart of publishers at journalism.

Google’s launch of Google News Lab shows how little faith it has in a stand-alone publisher being successful in the digital transformation. Google demonstrated to publishers how to work, with which tools, and what kind of products should be produced.

Is that bad enough? Not really. The really bad news is that Google, Apple, and Facebook assume that there’s not much time left for the transformation before the publishing industry dies.

Do we really put the fate in the hands of others? Or do we want to show that we know best when it comes to what our readers and users want?

Then let’s start to transform radically and today!