Wall Street Journal is reporting that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is going to buy digital magazine start up Skiff from Hearst.
News Corp. said it is buying Skiff LLC, which provides technology for print publications to sell their digital offerings on tablet computers and other digital devices.
News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal, plans to fold Skiff into the rest of the company, rather than let it continue operating independently, according to people familiar with the matter. Skiff also could become a backbone of News Corp.'s emerging project for news outlets to collaborate on strategies and sales of digital subscriptions and advertising, the people said.
I don't understand why Hearst did this.
Most people will jump to the conclusion that Hearst don't think the Skiff ereader can compete with the iPad. I think that might be true, but it's not the whole story. Skiff wasn't just an ereader; it was a whole content distribution platform. Hearst were planning to use Skiff to get their magazines on the Skiff ereader, yes, but they were also going to target other devices as well: smartphones, tablets, and more. Hearst could have simply abandoned the hardware and kept the platform.
BTW, I just heard back from Sprint this morning and the Skiff ereader is still going to be launched some time this year.