During the conference, Rupert Murdoch noted in an interview with Fox Business that News Corp was very unlikely to produce it's own e-reader. Stating:
"I don’t think that’s likely. We’re looking and talking to a lot of laboratories and big companies around the world like Sony, Fujitsu, Samsung. We’re all working on wireless readers for books or for newspapers or for magazines. I think they’re a year or two away, being marketed in a mass way, high quality ones. And we will be absolutely neutral. We’re very happy to have our products distributed over any device provided it’s only going to subscribers who are paying for it."
The decision not to build a device but instead to work with many partners seems a really smart one. Maybe some other newspaper companies, such as Hearst with their investment in FirstPaper, will rethink their plans.
Yet more e-readers were announced this week including the Ditto Book and the Bookeen Cybook Opus. There are currently around 40 different e-ink devices with, no doubt, plenty more to come before the inevitable shake out. Such competition will speed the price reductions that are necessary if the e-reader is to move from a niche to mass market product.
However, different approaches to screen technology such as the one from Pixel Qi to redesign the LCD screen could change the whole landscape as this technology finds its way into netbooks, notebooks and tablets reducing the need for a separate e-reader device.
Publishers continue to fret about Amazon's dominance of the e-book distribution market, according to a recent Bloomberg report. While concerns over the power of Amazon and the pressure on margins are justified - traditional book publishers still have to do much more to radiacally change their business structures to deal with the inevitable shift to digital. Certain book publishers appear to be embracing the move to digital faster than others.
As e-publishers look to additional revenue streams, we're likely to see advertising in e-books in the foreseeable future following Amazon's patent application for contextually sensitive embedded advertising.
Amazon was also in the news with the launch of a new special store called Amazon Wireless — it will be competing against Let's Talk . The online store will sell wireless service plans and devices from U.S. carriers AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Sprint and T-Mobile USA are coming soon. The sale of the iPhone is not suported
The week ahead has a number of key mobile events:
IAB Marketplace Mobile will be held on July 13th in NYC and will focus on mobile marketing and advertising. The event follows on the heels of a report from the IAB UK that indicates the majority of consumer are willing to embrace mobile advertising
On July 14th also in NYC, the Online Publishers Association is hosting a members only OPA Mobile Day presenting updated research on the mobile marketplace.
And on July 16th in San Francisco, MobileBeat2009 gathers 400 mobile developers, executives, entrepreneurs, marketers and press to discuss the future of mobile technology.
The journey to digital - online and mobile, continues at a rapid pace even if the road ahead is not always well signposted.