Tribune Co. kills plans for its own tablet

Tribune Co., the bankrupt owner of the Chicago

Tribune Co., the bankrupt owner of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and six other daily newspapers, has abandoned plans to develop a tablet for subscribers. It is owned by Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell. (Credit: Chicago Tribune, 2007)

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Tribune Co., the bankrupt owner of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and six other daily newspapers, has abandoned plans to develop a tablet for subscribers after struggling to make the necessary software, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Developers have failed to create software that runs smoothly on the MediaPad tablets from Huawei Technologies Co., China's largest maker of phone equipment, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.

Tribune had been conducting trials using Huawei hardware loaded with custom applications highlighting content from the media company's largest newspapers. The tests were due to be completed by the end of May 2013, according to James Jiang, executive vice president of product solutions at Huawei's device business in the United States.

The Los Angeles Times sent a companywide email this week offering to give away 100 tablets that were being used in testing as an incentive for completing performance reviews, according to a copy of the message obtained by Bloomberg News.

Tribune chief executive Eddy Hartenstein had sought to use tablets to add a new business and stem losses from declining newspaper circulation and increased printing costs.

Tribune, seeking to emerge from bankruptcy, is interviewing bankers about selling its papers, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Dec. 11.

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