April 28, 2006 1:17 PM PDT

Microsoft, NYT partner on newspaper software

Aiming to offer newspapers a new digital publishing alternative, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on Friday touted a software program that tries to make publications easier to read on a computer screen.

As part of a speech at a newspaper editors' conference in Seattle, Gates is slated to show off a program called "Times Reader," developed by the New York Times Co., that uses the graphics power of Windows Vista to help bring the "Gray Lady" further into the digital age. The software allows users to view the digital content on any screen size or change the font size. The layout will readjust itself to neatly flow around photos and other graphic images.

Click for images

"The Times Reader is a great next step in melding the readability and portability of the newspaper with the interactivity and immediacy of the Web," New York Times Co. Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said in a statement.

The newspaper industry has been battling declines in circulation and a migration of advertisers to the Internet. In addition to posting content on their Web sites, many magazines and newspapers have offered a digital edition that's essentially an electronic facsimile of the print version, either using Adobe's Portable Document Format, technology from Zinio Systems or other means.

"We continually look for new ways and the latest technology to deliver our distinctive brand journalism to satisfy our audience's changing expectations for consuming media," Sulzberger said.

The new software, which uses the Windows Presentation Foundation engine built into Vista, maintains the look of the New York Times' print edition using the same fonts, but aims to capture some of the flexibility that software can enable. The software allows for the inclusion of hyperlinks within the text, as well as the ability to play multimedia or annotate a story with comments. The content can be stored on the PC for offline viewing, but can also be updated continuously when a computer is connected to the Internet.

"The Times Reader is a powerful example of how companies can use software to forge new types of customer connections that span beyond the browser to the desktop and mobile devices," Gates said in a statement ahead of his speech at the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Microsoft said in a press release that the Times Reader software would be available for download in the coming months.

It's not the first time Microsoft has tried to get involved in such a transformation. Back in 2002, the software maker partnered with several magazines and newspapers to try to get their content onto the Tablet PC.

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8 comments

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todays software....tomorrow??
yeah, whatever so i get all this already from www.newsstand.com...
Posted by alinefx (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
read the artical..
...its not the "exact" copy of the newspaper like with newstand.com, it more like a website with links and stuff but looks like a newspaper.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Link Flag
Way Better Than Newsstand
Newsstand:
Content Model: Static, Fixed (PDF) based on images
Distribution: Big app. Large downloads
Navigation Model: Panning, Scrolling, Zooming
Business Model: Print Circulation

This app / Technology:
Content Model: Dynamic Reflow based on Web feeds
Distribution: URL deployed / updated content
Navigation model: click-navigation (no panning)
Business model: various though mostly Web ads

The Times Reader is about all harnessing the benefits of the Web today (URL deployment, connectivity, interactivity, dynamic content, etc) while taking content presentation and readability to the next level (sophisticated layouts, pagination, readable column, hyphenation, clear type, optimal paragraph, rich annotations, embedded fonts, etc etc). And, in the NYT's Reader implementation, the reader can be installed on the system to provide offline capability. The content isnt static - just smarter about caching. When connected, new content flows in (you don't even have to hit refresh incrementally and dynamically).

This is good for readers, publishers and advertisers. Readers get a great reading experience with rich content, mobile and offline. Publishers can actually bring their design expertise to the Web medium and, unlike the fixed document displays of today (like Zinio or PDF), this new reader will adapt the content and presentation to whatever display its running on so it's always readable (no scrolling or panning required). Advertisers get much richer and better integrated ad placement opportunties (the sophisticated layout makes this possible).
Wait for the beta and judge for yourselves.
Posted by GeniusEvil (4 comments )
Link Flag
Not Like Newsstand. Something New.
Newsstand:
Content Model: Static, Fixed (PDF) based on images
Distribution: Big app. Large downloads
Navigation Model: Panning, Scrolling, Zooming
Business Model: Print Circulation

This app / Technology:
Content Model: Dynamic Reflow based on Web feeds
Distribution: URL deployed / updated content
Navigation model: click-navigation (no panning)
Business model: various though mostly Web ads

The Times Reader is about all harnessing the benefits of the Web today (URL deployment, connectivity, interactivity, dynamic content, etc) while taking content presentation and readability to the next level (sophisticated layouts, pagination, readable column, hyphenation, clear type, optimal paragraph, rich annotations, embedded fonts, etc etc). And, in the NYT's Reader implementation, the reader can be installed on the system to provide offline capability. The content isnt static - just smarter about caching. When connected, new content flows in (you don't even have to hit refresh incrementally and dynamically).

This is good for readers, publishers and advertisers. Readers get a great reading experience with rich content, mobile and offline. Publishers can actually bring their design expertise to the Web medium and, unlike the fixed document displays of today (like Zinio or PDF), this new reader will adapt the content and presentation to whatever display its running on so it's always readable (no scrolling or panning required). Advertisers get much richer and better integrated ad placement opportunties (the sophisticated layout makes this possible).
Wait for the beta and judge for yourselves.
Posted by GeniusEvil (4 comments )
Link Flag
more embedded "Microsoft Only" software to eliminate the competition..!!
quote: "The new software, which uses the Windows Presentation
Foundation engine built into Vista.."
If the NYT signs onto this technology then I'm finished using them
as an online news source..!!
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is NOT Vista only. This is NOT Microsoft only
To clarify, WPF is a library for application development built in .NET. WPF will be available on Windows XP, 2003, and Vista. Additionally, WPF can be implemented by anyone for any platform (e.g. The Mono project), making this software cross platform.
Posted by jmacdonagh (1 comment )
Link Flag
 

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