Tribune Said to Scrap Huawei Tablet Plans Amid Software Struggle

Tribune Said to Scrap Huawei Tablet Plans Amid Software Struggle
Developers have failed to create software that runs smoothly on the MediaPad tablets from Huawei Technologies Co. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- 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 this year, James Jiang, executive vice president of product solutions at Huawei’s device business in the U.S., said at the time.

The Los Angeles Times sent a companywide e-mail 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.

Tribune Chief Executive Officer 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.

Gary Weitman, a spokesman for Tribune, declined to comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Milian in San Francisco at mmilian@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net