Thursday, October 25, 2012

Microsoft official rolls out its Windows 8 platform and its Surface tablet; Bonnier Corp. and The New York Times announce support and new apps for the platform

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer conducted a low key Windows 8 event today, no histrionics today. The event officially marks the launch of the newest version of the operating system the Redmond, Washington company hopes will attract consumers on both PCs and tablets.

The event also served to kick off sales of Microsoft's Surface tablet, which will be available starting tomorrow.

The key to the success of the newest version of Windows will, of course, be whether and how fast developers begin to support the platform.
With Apple's iPad dominating the tablet space, and iOS and Android fighting it out on mobile devices, the open question is whether Windows can find a large enough market share to drive profits for Microsoft going forward.

Both magazine giant Bonnier and The New York Times today unveiled support for Windows 8.

Bonnier will be launching 16 of its magazine titles through the Windows Store. The titles being launched on the platform are Popular Science, Parenting, Saveur, American Photo, Field & Stream, Flying, Outdoor Life, Popular Photography, Sound + Vision, TransWorld Ride BMX, TransWorld Business, TransWorld Motocross, TransWorld SKATEboarding, TransWorld SNOWboarding, TransWorld Surf and TransWorld WAKEBOARDING. The company said it will roll out its remaining brands over the next six months.
"This new collaboration with Microsoft provides us with an incredible new platform to reach readers across various devices," Terry Snow, CEO of Bonnier Corp. said in its announcement. "We believe it also allows us to connect with a new audience, expanding our reach and further building our brands for long-term success."

The approach the publisher is taking here is interesting. Each of the new apps are free and are built off the content of the magazine title's website rather than creating simple replica editions of the print magazines – though that could certainly come later.

On iOS, Bonnier's Technology Group has been using Mag+, which the Swedish publisher assisted in developing. The rest of the titles have taken a more replica edition approach. Bonnier has not been a big player on the Android platform, and through Amazon the publisher sells Kindle Editions.

The New York Times also announced products for the Windows 8 platform. The NYT will have a new news app starting tomorrow, again built off of the paper's website content, and will also have a Bing News app in partnership with Microsoft.

Current digital subscribers will be able to log into the accounts for access, which nonsubscribers will have access to the Top News section within the app and will be able to use in-app purchases to acquire a digital subscription for full access.

"The introduction of these two apps for Windows 8 demonstrates our commitment to bringing our journalism to our readers on the platform of their choice. Whether they are on desktop, laptop or tablet, or they are browsing through the top headlines on the Bing News app, The Times’s journalism will be there to help readers better understand the world they are living in," said Denise Warren, general manager, and senior vice president and chief advertising officer, The New York Times Media Group.