Microsoft announces more Digital Readers, but why?


Seattle_post_intelligencerMicrosoft just announced more reader applications similar to the Times Reader: using the same technology, you can now read the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Forbes, and the Daily Mail tabloid from the UK. From the main press release, you can find links to download each reader application, although you will also need to register with the publication.

My own experience with the Times Reader is very positive, but I’m slightly confused here. I understand that the Times Reader was the first application of this type and I figured (incorrectly) that the same reader application would eventually be expanded. Based on my interpretation of the product press release, each publication that uses this technology will have its own unique application. Why would I want different reader apps for different publications? Again, I might be confused here.

The good news for publishers is that Microsoft will be releasing a publisher starter kit to develop an app for your content. Even better yet, Microsoft mentions that the content delivery mechanism is based on RSS 2.0; maybe we’ll have a jkOnTheRun Reader?



You already have multiple news sources through a single
application – the rss news reader. In the case of these
companies, presentational html isn’t going to cut it.
There are a lot of things you can do on the desktop web
pages can’t do today. Until this changes I wouldn’t be
surprised by applications like this.


If it was the only way to get access to different content, I’d be a bit more concerned. I certainly won’t be loading multiple “private label” readers when a browser works just fine, but someone else might. The content providers just see it as one more way to get their product out there.

Hey, they certainly need all the help they can get.

Mike Cane

Jesus, are you guys lucky! I have to load a browser that includes permissions for these electrons to pass across state lines!! And then I have to use a utility to translate them into english!!


The press release states they want to make the experience as close to a physical newspaper as possible. With physical newspapers, you open the newspaper you want to read; you don’t open a newspaper reader then select the newspaper you want to read. Also, most people do not subscribe to multiple newspapers, so most readers won’t accrue a clutter of apps.

I actually think it’s a sound strategic move. I know several older people who are getting more digital, but still prefer newspapers to the web. I think they’d appreciate a more newspaper-like digital solution.

t lewis

Can someone tell me how this service is better/different than NewsStand?:

NewsStand has been doing this for a loooong time, matched with a reader that smoothly simulates the newspaper reading experience…You can download the NYTimes, USAToday…Hell, even the Spokane Spokesman Review and the Bakersfield Californian. It’s got tons of papers and tons magazines and international stuff in tons of languages.

Fantasticly groovy content perfectly tailored for tabletpcs that’s been available for years. Yet I’ve never seen it lauded as the hot soft-gizmo that it really is.

Zinio, as well, has been doing something similar for years, with a tight focus on magazines…PC Magazine to Maxim to TV Guide to Business Week:
Cool service. But no heat. How come??


Keep complaining and they’ll just pack up and stomp off whilst yelling at us to just use a web browser! :-)


Well, just as I am not going to install Comcast’s version of IE or any other “private label” browser, I sure as hell will not start cluttering up my laptop with different newspaper reader apps. Did those companies not see what happened to proprietary solutions such as AOL, Prodigy, and Delphi?

Fortunately there’s more than enough content on the web that can be read without proprietary readers.

Kevin C. Tofel

I had to get into my Comments app to type this myself, Oliver. ;) Seriously, I get the “private label” approach, but in a perfect world, content would essentially be platform / application independent.


I am reading this post with the JKontheRun browser. After I am done posting here, I’ll go to CNN using my CNN web browser, and from there to slashdot with the famous slashdot browser (but of course, for that I have to boot into Linux first).

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