only as open and neutral as "network neutrality" allows them to be. ok. the ny times has an online paid subscription. you can view it with most any web browser. it gives you a decent experience, online viewing, online audio and video using popular and currently available plugins, search, etc. etc. but it's also typically coded for the lowest common denominator. a lot of what they'd like to do, isn't possible because they don't want to alienate customers. do you code for netbooks? large desktops? windows? mac? IE? firefox? chrome?
now factor in the ISP's. sure, they all have to play fair now. but if some (time warner, comcast, etc.) get their way and start metering traffic, start billing for bytes. who's going to pay for a huge multi-media online newspaper? if i have to pay for the bandwidth, and pay for the content, and i'm being charged to download/view the advertising on the ny time's page. lol. you're going to see subscriptions plummet.
now here's your decision.. keep coding up a common platform web page, hope that the network remains neutral (a battle being fought hard every day) and that your customers keep coming. or offer up something that might be seen as new and innovative (before your competition does!) on a new but closed platform, but a platform that will have a known set of multimedia capabilities, and a possible guaranteed communication channel (AT&T).
a lot to think about these days...
network neutrality is slowly being eroded. corporate greed from the ISPs is pushing this one. sad, because they deliver such a shoddy product in the US too, compared to many other countries
dead-tree newspapers are being replaced
daily by television and on-line sources. they have to go on-line to survive.
everyone is coming out with some sort of media player/tablet/slate/mid player. multiple platforms. who do you code for and how? daily epub's? websites coded for mobile browsers? podcasts? hate 'em or love 'em. Apple is the best positioned to release a product that will be popular, cheap and have a good set of capabilities. microsoft doesn't make hardware, no common platform is their benefit and their bane.
good article though. and the iPad will be revolutionary because it will cause quiet a change in this whole market place. sitting on the couch surfing on your thin, fast, tablet device watching multi-media while you surf and email. the iPad is only the first of many products that are going to start delivering this experience. the winner will be who delivers the most accepted (not necessarily the best or most capable) experience for the consumers.