And his comments have nothing to do with Google's love-hate relationship with the iPad maker. Varian's explanation actually makes sense. Plus he is a professor before an executive. Currently he is on leave from Berkeley to work at Google.
Varian explained while the iPad is a lovely looking device it is a tool that doesn't address the fundamental problem with newspapers: how people read the news.
The printed news used to be something that people did every morning to relax but in the Twitter age newsseekers have become accustom to instant news.
And while the iPad can deliever news instantly, Varian said it is likely to be used only during leisure time, which erases a major part of the day for people who can actually afford to buy an iPad and its qualifying data plan.
Additionally Varian points out the iPad does nothing to fix the problem newspapers currently have with recruitting advertising dollars.For example, iPad users are still more likely to visit an automotive site when researching a new car than clicking on a New York Times ad about the Prius.
Of course Varian could be wrong but his words are still a hell of a way to welcome students who spend thousands of dollars a year learning their craft to the real world.