The folks at the NY Times have developed themselves a custom newspaper reader application for Windows Vista and got Bill Gates to tout it at the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention:
“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,” said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The New York Times. “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.”
Overall, the Times Reader enhances the onscreen reading experience through Windows Presentation Foundation, Microsoft’s advanced display technology in Windows Vista. The text in Times Reader is displayed in columns and formats to fit the size and layout of any computer screen and enables readers to customize the display according to personal preferences, such as font size and content relevance. The Times Reader also uses the same font styles as the printed newspaper, extending the strong brand identity of The New York Times.
An uncharitable view would be that the Times staff is unacquainted with Web browsers and Web programming. On the other hand, the Times seems to have obscure notions of customer lock-in for which a proprietary newspaper reader makes a perfect match.
“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,” said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft.
Perhaps applications that exploit Vista’s new user interface are in short supply?
All of which puts me in mind of Paul Thurrott’s comment on Nintendo’s decision to brand their next generation videogame console as “Wii” (pronounced “we” or perhaps “whee”):
I’m pretty sure this is actually pronounced “why?”
Finally, for really obscure notions, check out Robert X. Cringely’s latest, For Apple’s Windows Strategy to Work, It Must Replace Microsoft Office and Buy Adobe Systems:
Over the past three weeks, we’ve laid out in this column a sequence of clues and events that suggest Apple is planning to next year take on not only Microsoft’s hardware OEMs, but also possibly Microsoft, itself, by leveraging a vestigial legal right to some portion of the Windows API — in this case, literally the Windows XP API. This bold strategy is based on the high probability that — if something called Windows Vista ships at all next January — it will really be Windows XP SP4 with a new name. Microsoft is so bloated and paralyzed that this could happen, but what’s missing is an Apple application strategy to go with this operating system strategy, because Microsoft’s true power lies not in Windows, but in Microsoft Office. Fortunately for Apple, I believe there is an application plan in the works, and I will describe it here.