Microsoft launched the Microsoft Store as “Windows Store” with Windows 8. Back then, it featured a plethora of categories such as apps, music, video, and e-books. Now it has a much narrower scope. After dropping music, the Microsoft Store dropped ebooks. It’s not hard to see why, but it’s yet another argument against buying digital content from Microsoft.
Since April 2, Microsoft has stopped selling ebooks. The few consumers who have purchased e-books from Microsoft will not be left behind, however. Pre-orders are already canceled and refunds should be in process. Books you already own will be available until July 2019, when the service will be completely closed. At this point, users will receive a refund for all books they have purchased. Unfortunately, all the notes you took in the books are disappearing with the books this summer. Microsoft will offer another $25 account credit to anyone who loses notes.
Demand for books in the Microsoft Store was, by any measure, almost non-existent. There is no dedicated e-reader material for Microsoft’s platform. Amazon has the Kindle, Apple has the iPad, and even Google has a host of giant Android phones for its woefully undersupported Play Books store.
Microsoft books open in the Edge browser on all supported devices. For Microsoft, the eReader of choice was supposed to be Surface computers. Although these devices look a bit like tablets, they have more in common with laptops. They run more powerful hardware that won’t last as long on a charge, and the size and weight make them less comfortable to hold.
Microsoft is also moving to Chromium as its web engine of choice, so it should either reimplement its e-reader functionality in a new browser or just give up. He (naturally) chose to give up. After all, you would have to sell a lot of books to make a significant amount of money out of them. Most of the sale price goes to the publishers.
This is Microsoft’s new reality. There was a time when it could find its way into every facet of our digital lives, but those days are long gone. Amazon rules ebooks, and everyone is trying to catch up. Microsoft is unable to continue pouring money into fights it has already lost.