News Corp buys e-reader company Skiff

News Corp branched into the digital reader market with the acquisition of Skiff, a Hearst-backed company that helps distribute newspaper and magazine content to e-readers and other devices.

The company's latest investments underscore the company's seriousness about charging for online news and delivering content on various devices.

News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch has been vocal about plans to make readers pay for online news, hoping to follow the model of the company's Wall Street Journal online subscription plan. The Times of London, a News Corp property, implemented a subscription plan for its news website in June.

The deal for Skiff includes only the software distribution platform and does not include its e-reader device, which has not yet gone on sale to the public. The market for devices has become increasingly crowded, with competition from the likes of Amazon's Kindle, Sony Corp Reader, Barnes & Noble's Nook and Apple's iPad tablet.

Through Skiff, News Corp is hoping to be better positioned to distribute its content not only to the crowded field of e-readers but also to smartphones and netbooks.

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