Home Microsoft Quietly Closes the Book on Reader

Microsoft Quietly Closes the Book on Reader

Microsoft announced today that it will discontinue its Microsoft Reader e-book service. New e-books in its LIT format will be discontinued on November 8, and the app itself will be unavailable effective August 30, 2012, although existing customers will still be able to access it.

Reader has been around since 2000, long before the e-ink displays that power modern e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle became commercially available. The format was intended for PCs and later extended to Windows-powered mobile devices. It uses Microsoft’s ClearType rendering technology to improve reading on small screens.

It would appear that Microsoft Reader launched ahead of its time. Hardware advances such as e-ink were necessary to make e-books a consumer success, despite Microsoft’s early efforts in the tablet market. The upcoming Windows 8 will offer a range of dramatic interface improvements that could support a great reading experience on Windows tablets, but with Amazon and Apple running the game as far as content, it’s no surprise that Microsoft’s dedicated e-book format has been shown the door.

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