As per the latest e-reader news, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has gobbled up Skiff, the company that makes e-readers and is the creator of the software that acts as the provider of information to tablets and e-readers as well as smartphones. Skiff had been set up by publishers Hearst Corp. as a separate company that is credited to have developed the back-end technology that would make it possible to render newspapers and magazines on e-readers in a manner that would mimic the original print publication. In fact, it had also created a device based on e-ink technology though News Corp. does not seem to be too interested in the hardware aspect of it all. So it might not be seen as the manufacturer of any hardware that could rival the Apple’s iPad or the Kindle from Amazon.
What makes the Skiff platform specially suitable to reading the online versions of newspapers and magazines is its large display area measuring 11.5 inches that has a resolution of 1200 x 1600 pixels. The device also boasts of rich topography and dynamic updates. Also, in spite of its rather large size, the Skiff e-reader is quite handy at 17.5 ounces at which it is lighter than the Kindle DX.
The Skiff e-reader also incorporates a sturdy design feature that has been made possible with the use of a stainless steel foil at the base so that the Skiff e-reader is shatter-proof, crack-proof and even flexible. Another unique design feature of the Skiff e-reader is its touch sensitive screen which, instead of glass, is made of a metal-foil that can accept both finger and stylus input and is housed in a magnesium housing. This has contributed to the device being incredibly strong and sturdy. The end result, the Skiff can even be bent to a certain extent without breaking. All of these and a lot more has led many to believe the Skiff to be the next big thing to hit the online newspaper publishing industry.
News Corp. on the other hand has several major newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and New York Post under its fold which also includes some major news channels like the Fox network, the 20th Century Fox and Fox News. The buying spree did not stop here as the company has also picked up a stake in another company Journalism Online – a brainchild of three enterprising individuals, L. Gordon Crovitz, ex Wall Street Journal Publisher, Steven Brill and ex cable exec Leo Hindery Jr. Journalism Online look for means that would enable newspapers and magazines to get paid from their online readers for the news that they make available.
“Today’s developments underscore News Corporation’s ongoing commitment to create strong business models that support journalism at a time of great change in our industry.” “Both Skiff and Journalism Online serve as key building blocks in our strategy to transform the publishing industry and ensure consumers will have continued access to the highest quality journalism,” said Jon Miller, Chief Digital Officer, News Corporation about the two business ventures.
Also, the two business deals is perhaps another step forward to what Rupert Murdoch had always dreamt of, that of making available news to people as a paid service.