NYT and MSFT planning to help luddites bridge the gap

Microsoft and the New York Times have announced plans for a new technology that makes reading a newspaper online more like reading a newspaper offline.  Using features in Vista, The Times Reader will offer emulation such as "turning" pages and offline reading capability.

No more newsprint fingers – but at least the paper doesn’t have a battery that will die on you.  And laptops make for expensive flyswatters or impromptu rain shields.  But maybe die hards who refuse to read news online will finally convert, while the rest of us move beyond RSS.  Personally, I’d like to see some sort of superaggregation go mainstream.

Subscriptions are currently anticipated to run more expensive than a regular print subscription.  It will be interesting to see how this changes access to nyt.com – which you can cache already.  The Times Reader will have to go beyond TimesSelect and offer more value.  This is a great opportunity for advertisers though and can spark a revival in print ads, especially if the offline/online buys can be integrated.

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