News Corp. jumps into ed-tech field

“I think what Mr. Murdoch is doing is going after services and tools,” she said, noting that education company Pearson has done the same on a large scale in recent years and is likely to follow the acquisition of Wireless Generation very closely.

The move is likely a signal that News Corp. will focus largely on mobile technology and the delivery platforms it offers, Mickey said.

“I think the main point is the way education will be delivered,” she added. “I think the emphasis for News Corp. will probably be on tools, resources, and services rather than content. I would not be surprised to see Mr. Murdoch buy a content company, but I think what’s happening is that we’re looking at the way learning is done and how to help schools get to their desired level of student achievement, so you’re talking about a process. And if you’re talking about that, you’re talking about the kinds of resources that technology can help very well.”

Industry insiders have speculated that News Corp.’s purchase of a company that produces mobile technology for education also might be linked to Murdoch’s $30 million investment in The Daily, a subscription-based digital newspaper designed specifically for tablets, including Apple’s iPad.

The New Zealand Herald reported that “News Corp is creating a subscription news product for the iPad called The Daily that will cover national general interest news, according to two sources.”

The Daily is expected to be launched in early 2011, and industry insiders and blogs are reporting that it will have a $0.99-per-week subscription rate.

The Financial Times reported that investments in educational technology initiatives are increasing, despite strained school budgets, and that News Corp.’s purchase will place the company on a playing field with larger, more established education publishing companies—many of which, like News Corp., are looking toward mobile solutions as alternatives to clunky school textbooks.

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