Friday, April 17, 2009

Microsoft To Re-Enter eBooks?

That's what Mediabistro's Mobile Content Today thinks: Speculation: Will Microsoft's ZuneHD Include an eBook Reader?
There's a lot of interesting speculation about the rumored Microsoft ZuneHD which resembles an iPod touch with a large multi-touch touch screen. One speculation we have not seen about it so far, however, is whether or not it will be an ebook reader to compete with the Kindle or, at least, the Kindle iPhone app. Why would I think it might be an ebook reader if no one else does? A friend recently pointed out (tweeted) that the old Microsoft Reader, and ebook app nearly a decade old now seems to be in a revival phase.

It looks like Microsoft is now offering a new eBook creation tool too. [Update: I've been informed in Comments that this tool has been around, is not new, and is in fact six years old.] I'm pretty sure Microsoft used to tell people to go get OverDrive's ReaderWorks to create LIT eBooks.

It also seems Microsoft is now offering a choice of DRM flavors too.

Kirk Biglione's reaction:
It's Zune HD. Will probably have a reader built in. Zune is NOT the future of ebooks (or anything else).


Microsoft would certainly have to do things differently to re-enter the eBook game.

1) Dump the Passport activation of MS Reader
2) Develop versions of MS Reader for iPhone OS and Palm's webOS
3) Build eBook ordering directly into MS Reader
4) Really lean on publishers to lower their prices
5) Update the MS Word LIT-creation tool (Word 2003? Say what?)

Yes, LIT is very pretty. But no, it's not US$17.71 worth of pretty!

If Microsoft really does re-enter eBooks with the Zune HD, it'd highlight another misstep of Sony -- which never included its Sony eBook reading software in the PlayStation Portable.


Anonymous said...

This makes me very curious. I need to find a new reader. My Palm T/X is on it's last breath. Problem is, I want small and I want it to be able to Sync with my Outlook so I can use it as a PDA.

Mike Cane said...

The Outlook bit stumps me. I have no experience with it.

Even the PDA part is a stumper, since most people are now using a phone for PDA duties.

Anyone else?

Anonymous said...

I have a Blackberry, but cannot make it work for what I want. I could not get the damn thing to sync, even though is says it will.

Plus I can't read on it!


Mike Cane said...

You're coming here just to stump me. There's a limit here: One stump per day.

Seriously, I know zero about Blackberry!

jmurphy said...

Microsoft does not have a new ebook creation tool. That sdk has been available, unchanged, for at least 6 years.

Keishon said...

MS LIT is all I buy because it's the easiest to strip. But I've lost (and fought to get them back) ebooks because of that Passport Activation (didn't always remember my password). All excellent points as usual.

Mike Cane said...

@jmurphy: Tx. Corrected that bit.

Anonymous said...

Very true. The .lit format is a brilliant if underused format. I have quite a few bought .lit books myself.

I even create them using the old xml2lit, but using my highly modified xsl files. :/

My HTC phone can use the.lit format but not the DRM so will have to strip that to read the bought books, though my homemade ones are fine.