Microsoft's job page reveals plans for "groundbreaking" reading app

A recent job listing on Microsoft's Careers web site reveals that the company is moving forward with a new Reading application that it claims will be "groundbreaking". The listing seems to show that Microsoft wants to enter into a market that's been dominated in the past by Apple's iBooks and Amazon's Kindle storefronts.

The job listing for "Software Development Engineer - Devices & Studios - Music, Video and Reading", states :

The Music, Video, and Reading team has been brought together in Devices & Studios (DnS) as THE Microsoft team laser-focused to deliver the next generation of media content experiences across devices powered by the services and magic of Xbox LIVE.

However, the job itself will specifically offer the software engineer a way to help develop what the listing states will be a "groundbreaking interactive reading app on Windows, which incorporates books, magazines, and comics."

This won't be the first time Microsoft has entered the ebooks and magazines business. It collaborated extensively with Barnes and Noble on the development of the Windows 8 Nook app, and even invested $300 million in 2012 in a proposed plan with the bookseller to spin off the Nook division. That effort, however, never materialized and Barnes and Noble have been reporting massive losses with their Nook division. Rumors in 2013 that Microsoft might swoop in to acquire all of the Nook parts of Barnes and Noble have proven to be erroneous.

Source: Microsoft Careers via LiveSino | Woman with laptop image via Shutterstock

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21 Comments

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I like how on under "desired qualifications" on the posting, they mention: "Windows 8 metro development experience".

It looks like "modern" won't truly ever replace "metro", even at Microsoft.

Metro does roll off the tongue better than Modern UI. It's not by choice that they had to stop using it after all (they were reportedly arm-twisted by Metro AG), so the name must still be in internal use same as outside the company. Yeah they probably should have changed the name in the posting but who cares. Serves Metro AG right since they'd have lost in court anyway.

If Microsoft is about to enter the "reading" arena, then they better have a really good ecosystem ready.

Microsoft has done this stuff before to utmost failure. Remember the Zune and the Zune store?

VictorWho said,
If Microsoft is about to enter the "reading" arena, then they better have a really good ecosystem ready.

Microsoft has done this stuff before to utmost failure. Remember the Zune and the Zune store?

The old Zune store is still around. It's called Xbox Music/Video now. Their content was never the issue. The device simply never caught on, but the store always had pretty good content.

I am wondering if in this case they will take over the Nook content considering they already have a stake in it.

I am probably missing something here but I wonder why it has to be under the Xbox umbrella?if it is, as I assume, going to be an app to read books or newspapers and magazine subscriptions MS could just add a section covering these offerings in the Market. Why the need for a Xbox subscription?

I doubt it will need a subscription. Xbox Music has one, but Video does not. The Xbox brand covers their consumer offerings, which is why it is being placed there.

So that you have one place to go to find a range of media that you might like. A veritable all-you-can-eat of media you may consume. As a practical matter, a lot of people are aware of and use only a few of MS Windows 8 Metro apps. Having a single app to go to for the content you care about, which can remind of you all the other content MS provides, makes it more likely you will consume more of MS' content.

Hahaiah said,
"Ketchup" might be a good dev name...

I see what you did there....


They might (I know, this is Microsoft we're talking about) be able to do something groundbreaking.

It maybe that they'll be providing an app that lets you read books and content without any adverts or achievements getting in the way of what you want to do.

It might actually provide a way for content from devices such as iphones/ipads/nooks and kindles to be sync'ed via this 'reader app'. Calibre for metro as it were. One stop further and they might have struck a deal with some big names to provide a centralised location for 'authorised content' so it works across all of your devices (I know, dreaming right), alternatively they might just let you sign into your accounts via the app.

Still, they've got a long way to go if they want to provide more then 'just another' reading app.

However, from what Microsoft has demonstrated in the past, any thing you buy or anything useable will only work on Windows 8 platform, and you'll have to buy it again if you want to use it on Windows Phone or xbox.

Interesting...

I wonder how this reconciles with their investment in Nook. Everything the Xbox Reading app lists is exactly what the Nook app does today. It wouldn't make much sense to continue with the Nook investment if they are planning on going it alone, especially considering all the losses Nook has had.

If they are going to make a play for Nook, I'd imagine it would have to be before ValueAct takes its seat on the board.

I so can't wait to read a book on xbox while I'm listening to music on xbox live preferably jazz....

Edited by xBURNNERx, Feb 10 2014, 12:43am :

Dot Matrix said,
You put an image of a group of ladies reading iPads in a Microsoft article?

That doesn't look like iPad. Anything with white background does not mean iPad by default.

The Music, Video, and Reading team has been brought together in Devices & Studios (DnS) as THE Microsoft team laser-focused to deliver the next generation of media content experiences across devices powered by the services and magic of Xbox LIVE.

[BUZZWORDING INTENSIFIES]