I believe WOTC is moving in the direction of shifting D&D away from paper and to digital. Paper D&D has a major barrier to entry, availability of players, large amount of material to absorb, people's access to different source books varies, expense. The buisness model D&D was conceived upon isn't as viable as it once was.
But WOTC can, and I suspect is, shifting gears to make it a digital product. Tools for DM's to build campaigns, abstracting players away from micro-management and needing to know large amounts of data to participate, micro-payment systems by selling mini-modules ala Dugeon, and larger ones as were sold in stores, and the ability to monitor and react to imbalances in real time. Likely with a monthly subscription fee.
It's the ideal evolution of D&D as a buisness model, people who play offline can buy E-books, people who otherwise would be lapsed due to lack of players or pushed away by the barrier to entry can be embraced.
I suspect that's why he kind of dodges the question, along with 5 edition's development. They're not ready to drop the bomb that Magic Online's about to get a bouncing baby brother. WOTC knows that gameshops aren't viable, they didn't work with 3.x, they didn't work with the WOTC stores, they know it won't work now.
D&D's far from dead IMO, just like IMO Dragonlance is far from dead. I just suspect they're not ready to drop a major bomb on the 4e crowd, because they still want to move the remaining product.
To show why I'm convinced of this (Other than our Queen's hints!)
-The article even references the "Hiccup" in releases recently. We've seen this before ourselves, Dragonlance "Hiccuped" when WOTC was reviewing their future plans for the series, and then just picked back up with a slower pace of releases. I'm pretty confident the D&D hiccup was identical to the Dragonlance one.
-More importantly, a few months ago, around June IIRC, a thread popped up on the 4e General Boards. A UK retailer was complaining that he wasn't able to get any D&D material since December and he didn't know why. WOTC's response was that a distributer in Denmark was out of supply and "Slow to process the reorder to WOTC". WOTC neglected to explain why a distributer would take 6 months to reorder for what is apparently a fair portion of Europe, they also claimed they hadn't heard about it before. How many people really believe that a good portion of Europe was out of product and WOTC was unaware? But it makes 1000x more sense that WOTC hadn't commited to a reprint because they weren't certain they could clear stock prior to moving to 5e, and had put the reorder on the back burner till they got sufficient numbers to warrant a print run.
Then there's the fact that WOTC is sitting on the Dragonlance domain apparently, for what reason? Seems like they have plans to me.
-Gatt (Otherwise known as "He who loses passwords after changing email addresses")