Skiff, owned by Hearst Corporation, specializes in delivering digital content like newspapers and magazines. Come 2010, they are going to launch a new service that will rival with Amazon and the Kindle in some ways.
Skiff intends to start delivering digital content directly to consumers who want this content. The aim is to distribute it to all available channels and that includes dedicated readers, smartphones and tablets. This platform seeks to do exactly what other platforms do for various products.
Skiff will bring publishers, advertisers and consumers together on one forum. The idea is to deliver content to the users and help publishers generate revenue through advertising like they do now. The main focus, as mentioned earlier, is on newspapers and magazines. These publications already generate revenue this way, so it won’t be anything new for them.
They are also planning to sell books through this platform. The question now is whether they can survive in a market that is currently growing extremely fast. To help things along, they are planning to launch a dedicated ebook reader that will be using the Marvell chipset and Sprint’s 3G EV-DO Rev.A network for wireless connectivity to the store. This dedicated reader is supposedly coming in 2010, which means it should already be in the labs getting prototyped.
There are multiple ebook readers that use the Marvell chipset at the moment and adding wireless support to one will not be a big deal. Spring Design’s Alex, Entourage’s eDGe and Plastic Logic’s Que use this chipset. Skiff may be looking at re-branding one of these readers for their purpose. My guess would be Spring Design’s Alex because it looks like they could use a partner.
If this service becomes a hit with publishers of periodicals and newspapers, it will become a leader in that niche and the Kindle will not be all that affected. But if it starts carrying a massive number of books, both new and old, then Amazon might have something worry about on their hands.