Has Microsoft given up on eReading?

Microsoft has a long, and not very successful, history with eReaders, going all the way back to Microsoft Reader, which debuted in 2000, but never made it beyond Windows Mobile and was shuttered in 2012. Since then, Microsoft hasn’t delved into the 1st party eReader market, although it has seemingly been ready to make the jump a number of times, establishing a partnership with Barnes and Noble and its Nook reading device in 2012, and for a time letting slip that there was an “Xbox Music, Video, and Reading” team. Nothing has ever come out of either of these forays, however, and a death knell may have been sounded for Microsoft’s eReader ambitions today.

While Microsoft hasn’t had an eReader, Nokia did. Nokia’s Reading app was released in early 2012, but hasn’t been updated in the two years since then. The app came along with Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition and is now part of Microsoft Mobile, but today, according to WPCentral, Microsoft has sent emails to the users of that app that it will be shutting down at the end of the year:

In its emails, Microsoft said that Nokia Reading users should download their already purchased ebooks to their device before December 31 so they don’t lose them. After that date, the app won’t be able to be used to purchase or download ebooks. If users delete the app from their smartphone, any ebooks that have been downloaded will be lost. The email added, “Data specific to Nokia Reading will be deleted. Your Nokia Account will remain active however, and data associated with this – including your credit card information – will continue to be stored securely by Nokia.”

What’s possibly most interesting is a line at the end of the email, where Microsoft admits “that there are many other eReading apps, such as Kindle and Audible available in the Microsoft Store”. That doesn’t sound like Microsoft is planning on launching its own eReader anytime soon. A quick check on Microsoft Careers returns a number of hits for “Xbox Music and Video”, but none that include Reading (well, unless you count Reading, UK, where Microsoft has offices). Is Microsoft done with eReading?