Microsoft is to discontinue its now antiquated Reader software, effective from the end of August next year.
Reader was launched back in 2000 and was the first application of its kind, allowing users to download books to read on an LCD screen. However, interest for the software and support from Microsoft has waned over the years, given the emergence of new reading apps and hardware.
A statement on the Reader website informs users that new content will no longer be available from retailers after November 2011.
MS says that existing users will still be able to use the application and any content they already own after the service is discontinued, but this is unlikely to be of much use in the longer term, should the software prove to be incompatible with future operating systems.
The move gives rise to speculation that Microsoft could be developing a new ebook or tablet device of its own. Rumours did the rounds back in June that MS had been in secret talks with Texas Instruments and Taiwanese OEMs about possible distribution by 2013.
Acer expressed “discomfort” about some of the plans, claiming that Microsoft was imposing “troublesome” restrictions on processor manufacturers who are making tablets that run Windows 8.
It would seem that such a move is likely, after all, the market remains one that is growing swiftly. Coupled with the cancellation of Reader, it makes sense that Microsoft would be developing a new reader app alongside tablet plans.