Google Inc has approached several magazine publishers about creating a digital newsstand, in a move that could open a new front in the Internet company's rivalry with Apple Inc, according to a news report.

The digital newsstand would provide a way for media companies to sell versions of their publications designed for tablet PCs and smartphones based on Google's Android operating system, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, citing anonymous sources.

Google has discussed the venture with publishers including Time Warner Inc's Time Inc unit, Conde Nast and Hearst Corp, and has told some publishers it would take a smaller cut of revenue than the 30 percent that Apple typically takes from iTunes sales, the report said.

Google has also offered to provide publishers with certain personal data of customers who purchase the digital versions of their publications.

The report said that Apple is also planning several changes with its iTunes online store, including making it easier for publishers to sell subscriptions -- in addition to single issue sales -- as well as the possibility of sharing more customer information with publishers.

Representatives of Google and Apple were not immediately available for comment.

The report said that the timing of Google's digital newsstand remains vague and that it's possible the venture might not materialize at all.

Last month, Google, the world's No.1 Internet search engine, began selling digital books through an online store, entering a market dominated by Amazon.com Inc, and intensifying its competition with Apple, which also sells electronic books for its iPad tablet.

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