Microsoft to shut down Microsoft Reader support

One of Microsoft's attempts at providing electronic entertainment is being ended. The Microsoft Reader web site has announced that the eReader software will no longer be available to download after August 30, 2012. In addition, the software's ebook store will shut down after November 8, 2011. People who have already downloaded Microsoft Reader and purchased eBooks via the software will still be able to use the app even after August 30, 2012. Microsoft offered no concrete reason for the shut down of Microsoft Reader.

Microsoft first released Microsoft Reader in 2000 and allowed people to download, purchase and eBooks in the .lit format via Windows-based PCs and mobile devices. While the app was released well before the publishing industry embraced the eBook business, the software never caught on with Windows users. Indeed this might be the case of Microsoft being ahead of its time. Microsoft Reader was released long before Amazon  changed the book industry forever with its Kindle eReader device and its related software app that is available for the PC, Android and iOS products .

News.com reports that Microsoft hasn't bothered to update the software for desktops since 2007. Its last mobile update for mobile devices a bit more recent; its last version was released in 2009. Microsoft doesn't plan to release a new eReader app. If you happen to delete your Microsoft Reader copy after the shut down date, you may be out of luck. Microsoft doesn't plan to help any of the software's users to transfer its eBook purchases to another third party app.

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I have few books in the Microsoft Reader format, guess I'll have to find replacement for those then or hope someone will have the installer available after that date.

Microsoft Reader was very handy and nice... but there is no Win7/WinPhone7 support, anyway. Their last updates were 4-5 years ago for XP, Vista Tablet PC and WinMo6. MSFT is offering a generous lead time to folks can plan ahead.

Nas said,
Microsoft Reader was very handy and nice... but there is no Win7/WinPhone7 support, anyway. Their last updates were 4-5 years ago for XP, Vista Tablet PC and WinMo6. MSFT is offering a generous lead time to folks can plan ahead.

Reader works just fine in Windows 7 (and it should, as it worked just fine in Vista) - why is it that folks ASSUME that software that worked fine in Vista *won't* in 7? Further, most books that are in LIT format are also available in still-supported e-reader formats (notably, Kindle's MOBI). In fact, my favorite source for *free* e-reads - the Baen Books Free Library (http://www.baen.com/library) - has supported both from the get-go. Microsoft Reader *introduced* me to e-books (despite having used Adobe's Acrobat Reader long before than, I used it primarily for documentation, as opposed to an e-read format); now I also have KIndle for Windows (and for OS X as wel); however, I have not bought a Kindle itself (and, without a retail/brick-and-mortar source, I likely won't).

Nas said,
Microsoft Reader was very handy and nice... but there is no Win7/WinPhone7 support, anyway. Their last updates were 4-5 years ago for XP, Vista Tablet PC and WinMo6. MSFT is offering a generous lead time to folks can plan ahead.

It works fine on Win7. The installer is just a PITA.

I feel personally responsible for this.

Around 10 months ago, I wrote an email to the product team outlining my experiences installing on Windows 7.

The tone of the email was similiar to the Gates email from the 90s about his experience updating windows media player.

Here we are almost a year later, and the product is being retired. I only hope that MS provide their own tool for converting to XPS or something similiar. Requiring customers to purchase a third party tool to convert the content will damage their image as content providers.

About XPS: Am I the only one that prefers it to PDF? The main reason for me is that XPS is essentially a ZIP with XML-files whereas PDF is Postscript and is interpreted (can contain codeā€¦)

Microsoft Reader requires free activation after installation before it can be used. What will happen to that after it is killed? When someone has to reinstall their OS and all apps, will their purchased and already downloaded books be rendered inaccessible because Reader can no longer be activated or will Microsoft offer a patch like they did for MS Money to not require activation?

jandler said,
Maybe if they advertise this better...I never heard or seen this until today...

That's because it's a platform from the 90's that they pretty much stopped supporting quite some time ago. The last big updates (outside the builds for origami & table PC) were almost a decade ago.

Microsoft was way early on the eReading bandwagon...but without a proper eReader hardware solution.

While Microsoft gets praised (rightly) for their long support for their OS products, and even for Office, their smaller offerings like this are where I think they deserve a lot of criticism. They seem to like dropping things like this at a moment's notice, and likely at the whim of some accountant who thinks that they are wasting money on it. They did the same type of thing with Plays For Sure, among other things.

roadwarrior said,
While Microsoft gets praised (rightly) for their long support for their OS products, and even for Office, their smaller offerings like this are where I think they deserve a lot of criticism. They seem to like dropping things like this at a moment's notice, and likely at the whim of some accountant who thinks that they are wasting money on it. They did the same type of thing with Plays For Sure, among other things.

They've been offering Reader for over a decade, are giving a years notice on the discontinuation, and are stopping the sale of new items long in advance.

I don't really see the problem with this since they state users will be able to continue to use their current items, they just won't offer the software for new downloads. So if you have a copy of Reader saved, then you can just reinstall it and keep using it...same as before.

Mountain Dew said,

They've been offering Reader for over a decade, are giving a years notice on the discontinuation, and are stopping the sale of new items long in advance.

I don't really see the problem with this since they state users will be able to continue to use their current items, they just won't offer the software for new downloads. So if you have a copy of Reader saved, then you can just reinstall it and keep using it...same as before.

W8 is supposed to be, among other things, Tablet PC oriented. Hopefully, but not likely, the new OS will have the ability to handle Ebooks. While I personally prefer paper books be able to leave for a trip and have some books stored in my Tablet would be great.

Microsoft pushed tablet PCs well before the hardware makers could build the devices with a decent touchscreen at a reasonable price. Now Apple is considered the pioneer in the tablet space.

Microsoft created the two web technologies that made AJAX and cross-domain communication possible (i.e. XmlHttpRequest object and the iframe element) and did it well before anybody even heard of Google or the term "mash-up". Now Google's map and mail products are considered the quintessential AJAX-powered web applications, and they're using AJAX-powered Google Apps to take down Microsoft Office. The irony in this is that the very reason Microsoft came up with these web technologies in the first place is to allow web access to Outlook.

Microsoft can't seem to catch a break these days with their innovations.

The dangers of giving a company the keys to your book collection . . . Whilst it's unlikely in the near future, what's to stop Amazon or another major distributor discontinuing support for their current proprietary ebook format and forcing you to "upgrade" your collection.

Alastair Cooper said,
The dangers of giving a company the keys to your book collection . . . Whilst it's unlikely in the near future, what's to stop Amazon or another major distributor discontinuing support for their current proprietary ebook format and forcing you to "upgrade" your collection.

Good point. But in such case I reckon that it wouldn't be far-fetched to expect the company to release some sort of update to remote the DRM from their discontinued files. Or, in a worse case scenario, if anyone release some sort of "crack/hack" tool to remove the DRM support from the files (or to convert the proprietary file format to an open format) the company wouldn't have much of a case to prevent/block the release of such tool.

Alastair Cooper said,
The dangers of giving a company the keys to your book collection . . . Whilst it's unlikely in the near future, what's to stop Amazon or another major distributor discontinuing support for their current proprietary ebook format and forcing you to "upgrade" your collection.
Just what I was going to say and the very reason why I still buy physical books and movies.

Alastair Cooper said,
The dangers of giving a company the keys to your book collection . . . Whilst it's unlikely in the near future, what's to stop Amazon or another major distributor discontinuing support for their current proprietary ebook format and forcing you to "upgrade" your collection.

It's not really an issue. Calibre for example can convert all the major publication formations, including Microsoft's LIT, and you can even nuke DRM.

As far as LIT itself goes, I'm not surprised. It was pretty good back in the day, used to use it when I had an old WinCE PDA, but it's pretty antiquated now compared to the newer formats. (The small display size is especially annoying.)

jmc15john said,
Never even heard of microsoft reader.

which is why it makes sense to close it and release a new one in the future with a bit more marketing perhaps..

Lachlan said,

which is why it makes sense to close it and release a new one in the future with a bit more marketing perhaps..

or just stay out of what is already a crowded industry.

Lachlan said,

which is why it makes sense to close it and release a new one in the future with a bit more marketing perhaps..

or just stay out of what is already a crowded industry.