Amidst a series of layoffs throughout the newspaper chain, the Tribune Company is apparently working on developing its own tablet computer. The tabloid will resemble Google’s Android system and will be free or largely discounted to subscribers of Tribune’s newspapers.
Eddy Hartenstein, Tribune’s chief executive, is the tablet’s biggest advocate, personally briefing people on his vision for the product, said four people familiar with the matter. He’s a longtime technologist, having founded DirecTV. Hartenstein also sits on the boards of Sirius XM Radio, data-storage provider SanDisk and semiconductor giant Broadcom.
“It’s Eddy’s baby,” said one person familiar with the plans.
As much as we hate the thought that journalists may have lost their jobs to help fund a technological gamble, the idea actually makes a lot of sense. It’s the cellphone model. And since Steve Jobs is totally putting the screws to media companies who want to sell content through the iPad, giving away a digital newspaper device, while saving on printing costs and keeping all the revenue that would go to Jobs, is a smart move.