Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Morning Brief: Pakistani group claims responsibility for sectarian attacks in Afghanistan; Sun-Times paywall goes up Thursday; HP acquires German web-to-print company;

If Afghanistan didn't have enough troubles already yesterday's attack against Shiite pilgrims was a disturbing new development. The attacks that took place in three Afghan cities killed at least 63 people, according to the NYT report.

A Pakistani group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks, raising fears that sectarian violence, previously rare in Afghanistan, will be a new complicating factor in the already violent landscape of the Asian nation.

“Never in our history have there been such cruel attacks on religious observances,” President Hamid Karzai said in a statement. “The enemies of Afghanistan do not want us to live under one roof with peace and harmony.”

The Chicago Sun-Times is the latest to launch a metered paywall – they said they will launch their web initial tomorrow.
Readers will get 20 free page views of any website associated with the Sun-Times, that would include the sites supporting their suburban papers.

“We think the time is long overdue for us to begin charging for our content,” said Jeremy Halbreich, Sun-Times Media chairman, who was echoing pretty much every other newspaper publisher says to justify the building of a paywall. “It is certainly award-winning content and we need to find new ways to support it.” Yeah, yeah, award-winning. Wait for it, next comes talk about the New York Times (you'll find that part near the end of their article).

The Sun-Times paywall is using the Press+ system, sold by R.R. Donnelley.

My opinion of these paywalls remain the same: metered walls often are irrelevant when the news site is not a dominate player on the web. They become more important with major papers like the NYT and WSJ (though the WSJ's paywall is a solid wall, not a metered paywall). I visit the Sun-Times website once in a blue moon, and usually to read Andy Ihnatko's columns. Other than that ...

HP yesterday announced that it had acquired Hiflex Software GmbH, a privately held global software solutions provider. The acquired company specializes in web-to-print and management information systems solutions for printing services.

"HP wants to break the traditional barriers of how and where business customers print, making it easy for them to produce custom or personalized materials anywhere, anytime,” said Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president, Imaging and Printing Group, in the company's announcement. “Hiflex’s technology provides a powerful platform to deliver on this goal as part of our overall cloud printing strategy.”

The acquisition by HP is a further investment in cloud printing services, an area that has not as yet really taken off as many consumers and companies stubbornly remain hard wired.