Microsoft’s Worldwide Developers Conference has seen its fair share of drama. Microsoft showed phones it wasn’t authorised to and laid out a strategy that Nilay Patel at This is my next believes signals the end of Windows as a brand. Andy Lees talked about the future of Windows being available on all devices made possible with Windows now supported on SoC.
Kevin Turner talked about competition and the Microsoft ecosystem. His slide about Microsoft’s ecosystem laid out Microsoft’s pans of making their services available across all screens. Everything on the slide seemed in place except the mention of an E-book Reader. Microsoft teased us with a dual screen tablet but unfortunately the project was killed. While tablets (like the iPad) make more great E-book readers, the Kindle and Nook have found themselves a market. IDC found that the E-book Reader buyer market grew by a staggering 105% (year-on-year).
Two reasons why people would buy an E-book Reader are:
- Battery life (saved on the Tablet while travelling)
- Screens easier on the eyes (E-Ink technology)
Microsoft has Windows Embedded which can be customized by OEMs to be used on their E-book Readers but Microsoft doesn’t have a book store or marketplace like Amazon or iBook. If Microsoft does want to enter the space, they will have to come up with services around the devices, an ecosystem as they call it.
Till we see something from Microsoft that hints at an ecosystem around books, I’ll file this under unhealthy optimism. Nevertheless, Kevin Turner having Reader in that slide is intriguing.
Update: Microsoft does have microsoft.com/reader (a software for reading E-books on Windows based devices) but its presence is as good as its absence right now. When I said Microsoft doesn’t have an ecosystem around ebooks, I meant more like an active, well known system.