Two steps backward

Microsoft is offering a means to read newspapers designed as newspapers on computers. Why? There are other methods of doing this now and I find them all not only awkward and unsatisfying but wrongheaded. Why not design the next frontier for the sharing of news that takes advantage of all the new opportunities technology permits — linking, conversation, multimedia, search, selectivity, depth, currency? Oh, yeah, it was already invented. It’s the web. The only reasons to do this are to feed editorial ego, to think you’re maintaining editorial control, to try to dupe advertisers into thinking this the same as putting an ad in print, and to grasp desperately onto a past that is disappearing. (Full disclosure: The Times is Microsoft’s first user; I consult for the company at