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Microsoft drops Reader after Amazon, Apple take over

updated 04:10 pm EDT, Mon August 15, 2011

Microsoft Reader to shutter August 30 2012

Microsoft on Monday quietly said it would end its Reader app within a year. Stores carrying the LIT format will pull the format on November 8 of this year, while the app would no longer be available to download after August 30, 2012. The app and any downloaded books will continue to work after the cutoff point.

No reason was given for the exit, although the format has never been particularly popular or actively supported by Microsoft. Reader arrived in 2000, before e-paper came to market and before Amazon catalyzed interest in e-books with the Kindle in 2007. At the time, it was intended for conventional PCs and later Windows tablets. Support also extended to Windows Mobile, which itself only gained moderate interest before it was overwhelmed by the BlackBerry, iPhone, and Android in the second half of the past decade.

Many of the books using LIT are available on stores that were once major but have mostly been relegated to niche status, such as and Fictionwise. Most of the titles aren't bestsellers and skew heavily towards Harlequin-style romances. Few if any titles popular on other stores currently exist.

Along with competition from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other e-reader makers, Microsoft has also effectively conceded the tablet e-book market to Apple's iPad. Even with tighter iOS app policies, the platform has the widest selection of books and goes beyond features Reader has had, such as notes and highlights.

Microsoft will return to tablets in earnest with Windows 8 but has been focusing more on bringing PC-level apps rather than one-for-one equivalents to competitors' apps. [via TechCrunch]

by MacNN Staff



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