back to article Will Android, HTML5 tempt tabloid tablet tyrant Rupert Murdoch?

Rupert Murdoch has split News International in two, separating publishing (including his British phone-hacking-accused newspapers) from broadcasting and entertainment (everything else). Commentators reckon the move is to protect the latter half from the “contagion” of the press ethics scandal engulfing the journalism arm of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Here's hoping...

    ...the low life scumbag doesn't publish to android. In fact here's to hoping the entire crashes and burns in to a pile of steaming shit.

    Get the idea I can't stand his poisonous, vile, vomit inducing "news" empire?

    1. ukgnome
      Thumb Up

      Re: Here's hoping...

      If I agreed any more I would be buying you a pint.

      As soon as this ass hat becomes the majority share holder of Sky is the day I switch to Virgin.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Here's hoping...

        Except that Virgin pay Sky for access to their content, so how exactly is that helping?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here's hoping...

      How about killing two birds with one stone? Murdoch should just make his own tablet.

      Not only could he then publish whatever he wanted under his own conditions, but he could also use the built in microphones and cameras to spy on everyone. Maybe throw in a little Wifi snooping as well.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I'd suggest the real reason Mr Murdoch's digital subscriptions don't take up flying is simply because once you start reading news on a PC/tablet you don't really need to pay to read single-source - biased - mostly hogwash from places like the Times. You can get the same content or better - plus other views - for free.

  3. David Evans

    Oh dear

    Yes HTML5 is the right way to go; it was ALWAYS the right way to go, IF you're interested in maximum distribution of your content or service (why any eCommerce site would get into Apps any more boggles the mind), but the problem for NewsCorp is they're not interested in maximum distribution, they're interested in frictionless paywalls, which means, at the moment, apps. And that means continuing to give Apple, and probably Google (oh the irony) a cut of those news subs, because if NewsCorp tries to put up its own paywall in mobile and tablets, they'll get NO takers, rather than the few they get currently.

    1. dogged

      Re: Oh dear

      Agreed 100%. I'm not certain Gavin knows how HTML works (or indeed, how anything works).

      Frankly, the best option for Uncle Rupe right now is probably Amazon. The best option in six months time may have changed but Amazon are fully cross-platform because, er, that's their business model. As for Android tablets - how are they any more mass-market than Apple?

      We're continually being told (trolled?) by this very organ that Android tablets are a bit of a commercial flop and that people who want a tablet buy an iPad (note - Reg readers don't count as "people" for this, rightly. Reg readers are expected to have some technical ability and interest in discovering alternatives). So where next? Windows 8? It might work or it might not, but one company that you can absolutely guarantee will support it and everything else is Amazon.

      Rupert needs to go talk nice to Jeff Bezos.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Amazon comes at a price...

        Amazon has a long history of treating their publishers like shit. Their commissions and policies make Apple and Google's appear quite tame.

        For example, Amazon charges download fees on sales of digital publications, on top of their 30% commission. This guy was paying $2.58 for "delivery costs" on his $9.99, 18.5MB, e-book.

      2. chr0m4t1c

        Re: Oh dear

        >Frankly, the best option for Uncle Rupe right now is probably Amazon.

        Uncle Rupe is covering his bases, you can subscribe to Kindle editions of all of his "news"papers already.

  4. JaitcH

    "the largest collection of our news and publishing brands"

    Considering that the Wall Street Journal was a reference newspaper before Murdoch took iit over and today it is hardly fit even for use in the bottom of a bird cage, I don't think people have much to fear.

    In any event, I don't think he will be around for too more many years.

  5. dotdavid

    "To be fair to Rupe, a few years back Apple did seem like the only game in town: one tablet fed by one App Store."

    I'm not buying that. Plenty of people were predicting a lot of "me-too" tablets running Android would be released, and would be released at a lower price point than the Fondleslab. I don't think how things have worked out since then has surprised many in the know, except for how long it took manufacturers to realise that £400-600 is too expensive for most people looking for a tablet.

    Apple was always a better short-term bet, but making sure you had a strong early presence on Android I would have thought would have been a better long-term one.

    "I met the IBM team that runs the entire tech at Wimbledon Tennis championship last week and collects and serves all their data to the public through the redesigned Wimbledon website. Ninety per cent of their mobile traffic flows to iOS devices"

    Not sure why this would be - there are probably more Android handsets around now in the UK, and pretty much all of them are more than capable of being regular users of the web. Maybe Apple fans are more interested in the Wimbledon tournament, or are more likely to use the official website to get their Wimbledon news rather than the hundreds of alternative apps and sites. Maybe the official Wimbledon app sucks on Android (many are just crap iPhone app clones, making little to no use of Android's style guidelines and Android-specific functionality).

    1. Steve Todd


      because the majority of Android phone users got them pushed at them by their cell provider as a replacement for their feature/dumb phone and aren't interested (or their contract rates put them off) in using them to browse the interweb.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge


    Didn't El Reg recently cover how IBM is moving to HTML 5 for the Wimbledon stuff?

    Certainly for publishing content HTML 5 is already the choice of many using things like Adobe's offerings. It might get embedded in a minimalist native app for controlling distribution and charging but the content is all HTML 5 as publishers have finally realised that mobile devices are less limited than desktop browsers. Add to this the commercial imperative of not paying for another billing system and the case is pretty clear.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple BS

    "Android is nipping at Apple’s heels in markets, which can’t afford an iPhone nor an iPad"

    Really, it's not about not being able to afford an iPhone or an iPad. I have plenty of disposable income to buy one if I wanted, it's about not wanting to spend that sort of money on a very limited device, when the same money will buy me something much more usable and flexible.

    Pretty sure it's Apple and their army of braindead fanboys that have created the myth that Android is for people that can't afford Apple, which is laughable naive. Sure at the entry level this may be true, Android is available in markets where Apple could never compete, but at the mid and high end, that utter crap, and El-Reg should hang their heads in shame for even printing that crap.

    1. mrfill

      Re: Apple BS

      To expand further on Prof. Bozo's matrix..

      Rich + Smart = Android

      Rich + Dim = Apple

      Poor + Smart = Android

      Poor + Dim = 2 x baked bean tins + string

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple BS

        From posts like this you can only mean:

        Smart + Ass = Android

        Allow me to illustrate this.

        1. dogged

          Re: Apple BS

          How about everyone shutting the fuck up about who's got the shinier e-penis?

          You're not convincing anyone with this jihadi bullshit. Toward either side.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            ^^^^ says the Windows phone user

            who only gets indifference.

            1. dogged

              Re: ^^^^ says the Windows phone user

              With an Android tablet and a linux server, and a house he shares with his girlfriend (who has an iPhone, an iMac and a Macbook Air).

              I can do impartial, not that impartiality is necessary to get fed up with squabbling dickheads.

      2. h4rm0ny

        Re: Apple BS

        "Rich + Smart = Android

        Rich + Dim = Apple"

        More like:

        Happy to have Google spy on them + doesn't care about image / marketing much + happy to spend longer faffing around = Android

        Easily marketed to / wants to look cool + doesn't want to faff around + more security concious = Apple iPad

        Wants to do actual work + Rich = Ultrabook / the really thin Mac and ignore the whole tablet thing until they get keyboards.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple BS

      Keep dreaming fandroid. All that "flexibility" yet Android tablets are consistently destroyed by lack of quality apps and content, you know, exactly what a normal person wants from a tablet.

      Compiling kernels and installing ROM images with very h4x0r names is not everyone's idea of more "usable".

      How about low latency audio, so music apps can actually work properly? How about a lag-free experience? Google's going to need a lot of butter to get there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple BS

        It's hillarious reading the tripe that Apple fanboys spew out their fingers...

        I have never compiled an Android kernel, I have never needed to install a ROM image either. My tablet comes with ICS, and that's all it needs.

        It does things you can only dream about. I am not tied to any browser, I can set application defaults, even choose which application opens my "thing" I am doing, default Android applications don't override this like they do on Apple, where it's Safari or nothing.

        My tablet is actually useful, and despite what Apple tell you, there is a superb selection of tablet specific apps.

        These idiots have no idea what they are missing out n.

        1. pewpie

          Re: Apple BS

          Only reason Apple products are popular is cus they are 'moron proof'... overpriced, dangerous and impractical - but they worlds biggest div can enjoy one with ease and convice themselves very quickly that they are tech-savvy.. and as we all know the moron density levels are hitting the roof every day. No wonder Steve had that shit-eating grin all the time.

  8. sleepy

    It was Apple and Google

    ..that worked together to make it an HTML5 internet and end the Microsoft (or any other) monopoly. Then, just as it began to work, Google decided to try and become the new Microsoft and defeat both Apple and Microsoft, by entering the phone business, doing a deal to put Flash back centre stage, etc. But it didn't work. Despite the fact that there are more Android devices than IOS, only 7% of them run the current release (vs 70% of IOS), and Android owners don't even use the web much, let alone subscribe to Murdoch publications. (in June there was more than three times more IOS browsing than Android, despite lower device numbers).

    And with hundreds of different device/release versions, Android isn't yet such an attractive market for Murdoch. The problem Murdoch hasn't embraced is that to sell like old print media did, you have to sell it like old print media. In other words, I'll happily pay a pound or two for one copy of the Times or the FT on a day when I'm likely to read it (e.g. on the train). But there's no way I'm going to actually subscribe for more than pennies a day. Even free, I'm quite likely not to subscribe. There is no way Murdoch can get casual readers to subscribe. If he wants their eyeballs, it has to be free. Find a way.

    Don't write off Apple too quickly at the low end. Only natural they should hold off for as long as possible before pissing in the soup (as the CEO of Avis so graphically put it years ago).

    1. mangobrain

      Apple and Google the HTML5 champions?

      What about those folks at Mozilla? They seem pretty keen on all this HTML stuff.

      Google push it because it's the best (well... only) way to get their services onto all platforms, and Apple push it because... well... actually, I've never really quite understood why Apple push it. I dislike Flash as much as the next man, but there's a reason they ended up having to backtrack and release a native development kit for iOS.

  9. Scott Broukell

    I really don't care .....

    .. so long as Murdoch / News Corp are compelled to clearly use / print the words "NOW PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS" on any published material, digital or otherwise. That, in my estimation, is indicative of everything that has, and ever will, issue forth from News Corp et al - ARSE WIPE. Thank you.

  10. James Dunmore

    It's funny that the guardian tries to diss the times online as only have 35,000 readers. The Guardian's paper readership is less than 500,000 - that surely is a worrying figure for the Guardian and not the times.

    1. Bart Tyszka

      Though they have potential to greatly increase their income if they go the risky way of the NYT:

      " As of January 2012 it is the second most popular UK newspaper website, behind the Daily Mail's Mail Online, with a daily average of 2,937,070 browsers to the Mail's 4,838,140,[108] and in April 2011 MediaWeek reported that it is the fifth most popular newspaper site in the world." Wikipedia

  11. Annihilator


    "Commentators reckon the move is to protect the latter half from the “contagion” of the press ethics scandal engulfing the journalism arm of News Int."

    That sentence works much better with "commentator" replaced with "anyone with even half a brain only 1% engaged"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Audience reach

    What the author seems to suggest:

    Publish via Apple - audience = iPad owners

    Publish as HTML5 - audience = Android tablet owners


    Publish as HTML5 - audience = All tablet owners

    What the publishers are very slowly figuring out is that, if your business is publishing, you have no business publishing in anything but HTML5. Apps are the publishing equivalent of those Vertu phones - bling-encrusted hunks of crap.

    1. dogged

      Re: Audience reach

      While I agree with you, that doesn't help with frictionless paywalls.

      1. P. Lee

        Re: Audience reach

        It isn't just tactical. Murdoch won't want a monopsony. You want competition everywhere except for yourself.

        For most of Murdoch's customers a few pence at the railway station is a far lower barrier than handing over credit card details to a website.

        Also remember that the newspaper's customers are the advertisers not the readers. He's more like Zuckerberg than a book writer.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Except that HTML5 is still over-hyped (see Facebook's volte-face with it's iOS App - native, HTML5, back to native, following every users complaint about performance) - and the mention of Java is another reminder of the problem - the continual fantasy of the One True Standard, that will eliminate these pesky platforms consumers keep forcing on us technologists.

    I'd also add that the Orbitz article linked too in fact contradicts the point made in the same sentence- it doesn't tell you Apple users will spend more on the same product - it tells you that Apple users are more likely to pay for a premium hotel / room, not pay more for the same hotel.

    Which is probably a salient point if you are in the business of selling content for a premium - and especially as a large part of the Times/Sunday Times business is around advertising to 'premium market' consumers - unlike The Sun, they are not mass market papers.

    The fact that billions of people can't afford iPads, but will be getting some kind of budget smartphone is an irrelevance, because the content of The Times is also going to be irrelevant to them.

    (Is there an opportunity catering to them? You bet, and News International is very active in Asia for that reason).

    The comparitive financial size of the iOS and Android software markets is also illustrative here - although I'd actually say that from a print-media point of view, a Kindle partnership would probably be more interesting (you know you are targetting people who read) - except that Amazon hold more of a whip-hand than Apple in that respect, due to their control of print distribution.

    The whole Android/HTML5/Firefox platform/WebOS type thing on the other hand, comes across to me like people looking at a business problem (vendor lock-in) - and replying with a technological solution (open standards) while ignoring the business side - will it make MORE money than the locked-in system?

    Otherwise, games consoles would have long-ago given way to one of the various attempts at an open gaming platform.

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