Microsoft closes the book on its Microsoft Reader eBook software

By Tom Warren, on 16th Aug 11 9:30 am with 14 Comments

Microsoft is killing off its Microsoft Reader software next year.

The software giant revealed it will kill off its Reader software and service which includes access to over 60,000 eBook titles. Microsoft did not provide a reason for the closure but informed users in a message on the company’s website this week:

“Microsoft is discontinuing Microsoft Reader effective August 30, 2012, which includes download access of the Microsoft Reader application from the Microsoft Reader website. However, customers may continue to use and access the Microsoft Reader application and any .lit materials on their PCs or devices after the discontinuation on August 30, 2012. New content for purchase from retailers in the .lit format will be discontinued on November 8, 2011.”

Microsoft’s Reader application was originally released in August, 2000. The application was designed for use on Microsoft’s original Pocket PC devices and was built into the Windows CE operating system. Microsoft also included its ClearType font technology in Reader. CNET reports that Microsoft has not updated the desktop version of Reader since 2007, with a mobile update in 2009. Microsoft Reader will close fully on August 30, 2012.

  • McAkins Online

    Wow, another Microsoft’s Me-First product that succumbed to competition. MS, how many product have you not pioneerd only to have late-comers steal your thunder? Skype>Netmeeting; iPhone>WindowsMobile; iPad>Origami; Kindle>MS-Reader.

    MS, the company that kills its own prophets.

    • Aasdfd

      MS if often too ahead of its time. And most of the time their products aren’t successful just because it’s MS. People love to hate MS and since MS don’t have the fanboy following of Apple, they can’t win no matter what.

    • Jinge

      Marketing is not their strength either. And 11 years ago, no media was talking about ebook, so no “free ads” for MS. Now everytime apple make a new product, there is apple ads everywhere, and news in all media… Changes a lot!
      Plus the design was not sooooooo great, so it is not so easy to sell a “non user-friendly” product to non-geek people…

    • Anonymous

      I agree. a same thing happen to ms tablet (tablet pc).

    • Guest

      MS used to be semi-effective at marketing. Remember Windows 95? It was extremely well done. They’re generally terrible at it today, but it’s a situation that has to change. Because in Apple particularly, they’re up against a first class marketing machine. They took the first step by getting rid of the useless Mitch Matthews. But so far the replacement isn’t showing any visible improvement.

      MS needs a new infusion of talent at the top. New CEO. New marketing. New HR. About the only people who deserve to stay, at least for now, are the group VPs for Windows, Office, Servers, EDD.

    • xledger

      MS may be ahead of its time, but it never really has the steam and/or balls (you pick) to follow through when the time DOES arrive. It almost seems like they’re so afraid of their shareholders, they would rather wait and see what the competition does, find out if it’s a viable product, before creating and releasing their own.

      I’ve seen some of the most amazing things from Microsoft Research. Their armada of programmers, engineers and researchers are amazing; yet their marketing/product/management/PR people are uninspiring. The only public figures from Microsoft whom I respect are Steven Sinofsky and Joe Belfiore. They do not irritate me when they talk, they express a genuine interest in their products, and they actually appear to understand what they are talking about.

      As for Ballmer, I really have nothing against him. But look at him! He looks EXACTLY like your stereotypical villain. Heavy-built, bald, small eyes, and somehow he reminds me of both Lex Luther AND Freddy Krueger. 

    • Guest

      MS afraid of their shareholders? LOL. You’re talking about a company that over the last decade has destroyed half its shareholder’s value. That’s not the actions of a CEO and board who are afraid of shareholders. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. It suggests a CEO and board who don’t give a shit about them.

    • Guest

      MS afraid of their shareholders? LOL. You’re talking about a company that over the last decade has destroyed half its shareholder’s value. That’s not the actions of a CEO and board who are afraid of shareholders. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. It suggests a CEO and board who don’t give a shit about them.

    • Tom

      And if you’ve ever listened to a Microsoft investor call, the financial people come off as the worst type of pushy salesman.  I know that’s how Wall Street is, but I’ve listened to other investor calls from other companies where they at least try to sound like real people.  At Microsoft, they don’t even try.  It’s all buzzwords.

      Bill Gates used to write code. Has Steve Ballmer written a line of code in his life? That’s what’s wrong with Microsoft’s management structure.  They’ve got more developers working for them than anyone else in the industry — including Google and Apple *combined* – and yet they’re wasting it all on stuff that gets dropped on the floor by Marketing.

      Microsoft Reader was further hampered by the fact that Microsoft never offered a complete end-to-end solution.  Someone else made the Tablet PC or Pocket PC, someone else sold the books.

    • Guest

      Most of their products haven’t been successful because MS hasn’t given them the necessary focus, stuck with them, or maintained the innovation necessary to win. The company has often times had the attention span of someone with ADD. Reader they stuck with, but clearly didn’t maintain focus or innovation. It was basically left to rot, like many other MS initiatives.

      Now, you’re right, even when they have good products they don’t get a fair shake from many, including the media. But I’d argue they deserve much of the blame for that.

    • Barry Nielsen

      I wonder if they’re ahead of the hardware, too?
      Their early tablets etc.. versus what’s available now, in terms of battery life, speed, screens etc…

    • Anonymous

      Is it that they are ahead of their time, or rather that they poorly execute most things?

      If they didn’t rely on their ‘might’ and acted with a bit more humility, they would design their products for the user rather than as a “Microsoft Technology”. Nobody cares how great something is if it can’t be used easily.

  • Anonymous

    I completely agree with the whole ‘ahead of its time’ theory plus of course the marketing aspect.

    Microsoft is like a company filled with nerds who have no idea how to make it look pretty.

    Apple has both… but not as good as MSFT.

  • Anonymous

    I hadn’t even realized that this was still considered a supported product. I used to install it on all of my systems but but I probably read more books on my Nook within a month of buying it than I did in the decade of Reader’s existence. It was a good demo for ClearType but not a real reading solution like an e-ink device. It’s just as well that Microsoft never made a big push into dedicated reading devices. Having yet another format to support would have been a pain. As it is, I really want Amazon to drop the ancient MOBI format and start using EPUB like everyone else.

    What would be really cool is if the next generation of Office spoke EPUB natively as a save format. There is a very Word 2003-like program called Atlantis that supports saving to EPUB but doesn’t support a lot of important modern features like tables.