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Microsoft Building an 'Xbox Reading' App For Windows 8

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Microsoft 52

Nate the greatest writes "Microsoft has already sunk $600 million into Nook Media, the ebook division spun off from Barnes & Noble in 2012, but I guess that's not enough for the Redmond tech giant: news broke today that they have a third ebook effort in the works. A new job listing discovered by the Chinese tech blog LiveSino has revealed that Microsoft is hiring an ebook developer to work on 'a groundbreaking interactive reading app on Windows, which incorporates books, magazines, and comics.' The position was posted by the Xbox Music, Video, and Reading unit, which had already released two apps for Windows 8 (video, music) and is clearly going for a trifecta. This new app shows all the signs of being completely unrelated to the Office Reader app, which leaked last year. That app reportedly focused more on PDFs, textbooks, and office docs, while the 'Xbox Reading' app mentions magazines and digital comics."

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Slashdot building a 'Beta' website for no one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210187)

Now you guys know how Microsoft feels. This whole beta thing has killed Slashdot. Way to go Dice, way to go.

Re:Slashdot building a 'Beta' website for no one (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210217)

Actually you whiners are currently the bunch ruining Slashdot.

Re:Slashdot building a 'Beta' website for no one (1)

Silvrmane (773720) | about 9 months ago | (#46213679)

A-fucking-men. A bunch of crying man-babies are currently the ones ruining this site.

Re: Shutup about the beta already! (2, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#46210259)

You know what I did?

I scrolled down to the bottom of the page and clicked "Slashdot Classic Problem solved. I stayed logged in and slashdot has my preference for classic memorized. Did that on my phone.

Now all is good except I get spam on every damn news story going BETA OMG EWWW and I am tired of reading about it or having 1/2 of the comments talking about it. Jeesh

Re: Shutup about the beta already! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210343)

Problem solved.

Really good idea. Now what will you do when they shut down the classic site like they've said they intend to? Problem not solved.

slashcott Feb 10th-17th.

Re: Shutup about the beta already! (-1, Offtopic)

Kremmy (793693) | about 9 months ago | (#46210403)

What are you going to do when they remove that option?

hmm dunno, maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46215697)

im gonna freaking DEAL WITH IT!

Re: Shutup about the beta already! (1)

Kremmy (793693) | about 9 months ago | (#46226083)

-1 Fact

Re: Shutup about the beta already! (0)

similar_name (1164087) | about 9 months ago | (#46210483)

/. has had changes in the past. And in the past, people protested and complained. I would think, let them try something new. /. should like updates.

I think differently about this one. /. has changed over the years but it has always been about the comments. Lots of people like to monetize things, hence why Dice now owns /. But in the years I've been on /. it was always about the community. This time it's about the audience.

If comments are destroyed, that will ruin /. The BETA protest will do no more harm than the GNAA, APK or any other troll. It's been a while since there was a good one anyway.

I'm still using Classic as well, but *why* BETA sucks does not bode well for /.

Re: Shutup about the beta already! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210689)

Re: Shutup about the beta already!

Maybe you'd like a nigger's dick in your arse instead

Re: Shutup about the beta already! (1)

sootman (158191) | about 9 months ago | (#46211385)

Quote: "we want you to know that Classic Slashdot isn't going away until we're confident that the new site is ready" [slashdot.org]

If you can understand written English, you'll see that they ARE planning to get rid of classic slashdot. THAT'S why we're complaining.

Re: Shutup about the beta already! (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#46211549)

So basically you have a link that says we wont put the new system in yet as people hate it and it is not ready.

Now if I can understand English that means they are getting rid of it?!

Keep it yourselves. As it is not just 1 spam or 2 in each story. FUCK 50% of the dang comments are I HATE BETA. I feel like I am reading mycleanpc spam each story and I am getting annoyed and as I was modded up I feel I am not alone.

Slashdot editors and owners may not be as conservative as your tastes in GUI's but I believe they do have some intelligence as in hmm people hate it with a passion then maybe just maybe we should not put this style in?

Re: Shutup about the beta already! (1)

sootman (158191) | about 9 months ago | (#46211899)

I have a link that says they WILL get rid of Classic when THEY THINK the new version is good enough. Which, given what we've seen in the last several months, is NOWHERE NEAR what current users want.

> I believe they do have some intelligence as in
> hmm people hate it with a passion then maybe
> just maybe we should not put this style in?

We shall see. But "beta" has been out since last Fall and it still sucks out loud, and they've gotten tons of feedback in the last 4 months, but here we are -- STILL with a sucky-ass new system. We are just letting them know, in the clearest possible terms, that we don't like what they're doing.

Re: Shutup about the beta already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46211689)

The only problem I have with Beta is that they're taking Classic away. I'm gone when it is.

Re: Shutup about the beta already! (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 9 months ago | (#46214975)

Now all is good except I get spam on every damn news story going BETA OMG EWWW and I am tired of reading about it or having 1/2 of the comments talking about it. Jeesh

The problem you have is that if beta goes ahead, well over 1/2 the comments you come here for will disappear entirely.

Reply to Comment (not sure what's supposed to go h (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210501)

I thought you guys were being a bunch of whining bitches about this FUCK BETA shit until I saw it. This crap is fucking awful. Good thing I only read this bullshit site when I'm bored these days, otherwise I might be really disappointed that I have to stop using it.

FUCK BETA!!!!

Plays4Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210189)

Until next week, when they stop supporting it, make you rebuy everything, and move on to the next flavor of the week.

Anyone who has had any experience with Microsoft media knows to stay the fuck away.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_PlaysForSure

--BitZtream

Re:Plays4Beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210219)

Not enough Beta hate in your post. 1/10, would NOT read again.

Re:Plays4Beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210279)

:( I suck

--BitZtream

FUCK BETA!$!@#%!@#%!

Re:Plays4Beta (0)

John Nemesh (3244653) | about 9 months ago | (#46210547)

Considering EVERYTHING MS makes is "beta", I am not sure that's true! You should specify, "not enough SLASHDOT beta hate..." :)

Patent lawsuit (2, Interesting)

bernywork (57298) | about 9 months ago | (#46210215)

Let's get one thing straight here, the only reason why Microsoft dropped $300m into the Nook business was to bury a antitrust suit by Barnes and Noble over the patents they were allegedly infringing by using Android. Fearing failure and their Android licensing business drying up, they decided to make the whole lot go away.

http://blogs.reuters.com/aliso... [reuters.com]

Re:Patent lawsuit - Win-Win? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46211051)

RTFA: The conclusion is VERY inconclusive -

"But there’s a line in Microsoft and Barnes & Noble’s joint announcement of the deal that might give Microsoft challengers pause — and makes it unclear which side will come out on top in the long run. Both Barnes & Noble and Microsoft publicly emphasized the synergies of their new partnership, which gives Microsoft an entry point into a market it believes will be shaped by advanced software add-ons to simple e-books and gives Barnes & Noble a presence on Microsoft’s soon-to-be-released tablets, as well as a much-needed investor. The announcement also included a note that Barnes & Noble and the new digital and textbook subsidiary “will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and tablet products.”

So Barnes & Noble is licensing Microsoft IP after all. If you’re wondering about the terms, keep wondering. Microsoft has jealously guarded any disclosure of its licensing arrangements in the Barnes & Noble litigation, to the extent that the company demanded that B&N patent misuse filings be removed from the ITC record. There are no available specifics on what B&N and the new subsidiary have agreed to pay, so for all we know, Microsoft is getting all it originally wanted in Nook royalties.

It’s a cliche for settling parties to claim they’re both better off for resolving their differences. Maybe this time it’s actually true."

Re:Patent lawsuit - Win-Win? (1)

bernywork (57298) | about 9 months ago | (#46211303)

Actually, looking at it further, the whole $600m was involved in that settlement.

Who cares what the conclusion was? Which way did the money go?

300m from MS to B&N.
How much from B&N to MS? Zero. They did get stock though. Ultimately worth nothing if the business goes bust.

MS wouldn't have paid if they weren't screwed, no matter the terms of the deal. They might get that money back ultimately, but nobody involved would have called that a win if the patents were so strong.

Who cares (1, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#46210231)

No one uses Windows 8 apps anyway.

Even I am surprised as much as I hate Windows 8 I assumed due to it being installed on every computer at least some app writters would target it. Most of the users just click desktop. You can tell as most Windows 8 users have not upgraded to 8.1 according to statistics which means they do not even know it has a Windows Store?!

Hell even Windows Phone has more apps and a reader I may add too.

Re:Who cares (1)

John Nemesh (3244653) | about 9 months ago | (#46210535)

Well, considering that if you blink, you will miss yet another shift in development platforms at Microsoft, I don't find the lack of dev support surprising at all! After all, why learn one platform when you can learn FIVE!

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210609)

I've been programming on Windows using the same platform for the last 10 years. And it all still works. What's your problem?

Re:Who cares (1)

John Nemesh (3244653) | about 9 months ago | (#46210761)

So, what should I learn? Silverlight? .NET? C#? C++? Not even Microsoft knows what the hell they will be using in 3 months! Surely I am not the only one to notice this?

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210977)

So, what should I learn? Silverlight? .NET? C#? C++? Not even Microsoft knows what the hell they will be using in 3 months! Surely I am not the only one to notice this?

Apparently Microsoft has decided to go with Unity3D, who uses a custom version of mono which is...

https://unity3d.com/company/public-relations/news/unity-announces-strategic-collaboration-microsoft

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46212135)

Those things you mentioned are not interchangeable, each has its own use-case.

Different technologies are used for different things. You must be retarded to not understand that. I suppose being an anti-ms troll has damaged your ability to think rationally.

Re:Who cares (1, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about 9 months ago | (#46210583)

Even I am surprised as much as I hate Windows 8 I assumed due to it being installed on every computer at least some app writters would target it.

Everyone hates Metro. Pushing it onto the desktop only made people hate it more. So the only place you might sell a Metro app is a Windows phone.

And who in their right mind wants Windows on their phone?

Re:Who cares (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 9 months ago | (#46210903)

And who in their right mind wants Windows on their phone?

Since this is a reader application, I would say the same about reading on a phone. It can be done, but it's not a good fit.

On a convertible laptop/tablet (Surface Pro), on the other hand, making Windows 8 flexible enough to handle both settings well actually makes sense. Especially for a reader - you might be using it as a tablet (sitting on the couch reading), or you might be referring to a textbook while doing homework using the keyboard.

So, yeah, "windows everywhere" was an overreach. But "windows for both touch and pointer/keyboard-driven interfaces", on the other hand, is a worthwhile goal.

Re:Who cares (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#46210913)

Even I am surprised as much as I hate Windows 8 I assumed due to it being installed on every computer at least some app writers would target it.

Everyone hates Metro. Pushing it onto the desktop only made people hate it more. So the only place you might sell a Metro app is a Windows phone.

And who in their right mind wants Windows on their phone?

That post speaks volumes. Microsoft's artistic demos before any code was written showed LinkedIn, Monster.com, Youtube, and several other apps. I am just shocked how badly it ended up.

FYI I own a Nokia after having a crappy Android experience with a Samsung Galaxy 1. It slowed down to being unusable .. eg. 30 seconds before my contact list on my phone would show up to add someones number etc.

Windows Phone is much lighter and frankly gorgeous compared to Android and IOS. If MS didn't make it I bet people on slashdot would be talking about it more. It is catching in in places like Italy where 10% of smart phone users use it and it doubled in North America in the last 6 months. No crashes or hicups and MS got their act together I would say starting with Windows 7 and later (exception is the GUI stuff).

But that is not Windows 8 and I would never run it on a desktop.

I think what MS needs is to have Metro apps run like desktop ones Windows 7 style and not have a damn closing door syndrome and a consistent GUI. Have some integrated bing with instant search but not take up a whole damn screen and have the same applets run on Windows 9 desktop and phone. Also a fat .exe and .dlls that are both ARM and x86 compatible would be nice too.

To me I like many aspects of the metro apps but not the full screen gui part but I am a little used to them on the Windows Phone. Jumplists and pining them to a task bar and putting aero back with stacking multiple files that run with a program would be sweet as well as voice activation which is rumored to be part of Windows 9. I would like a task bar and start menu that also goes away or comes back if it detects a keyboard is plugged in.

If Microsoft can do these I will not resist Windows 9. However as we saw with XP many Windows 7 die hards (myself included) will not want to change until there are apps are some benefit. If Windows 9 certification meant GPS and gyroscopes for laptops and desktops I could see myself upgrading then as it would be cool to go into a hotel and get news and weather and zagot restaurant reviews on the road etc. The surface didn't even have a GPS unit?!!

Then if an update comes in the Windows Store there will be a notification and people (well many stuborn IE 8 users will just ignore) will update it. 2 Guis where one is ignored is bad and it feels like it was rushed.

The direction to Nook should have taken. (2)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 9 months ago | (#46210239)

The eInk Nook was able to be rooted into a full fledged android tablet. The version of android was rather old which was unfortunate, but otherwise it was a nice device. Reading GMail, looking at RSS feeds, viewing twitter were all pretty good on an eInk screen. It would have been nice to see a company produce a device that did this.

How can it not already have an e-reader? (1)

jandrese (485) | about 9 months ago | (#46210361)

Is the Windows Mobile store really so bad that it doesn't have a basic e-reader? Why is it so exciting that Microsoft is building one? Doesn't everybody have an e-reader app these days?

I guess it's mildly interesting if they can deliver a bunch of content "for free" to XBLive Gold members or something, but I don't see anything in the article about that.

Re:How can it not already have an e-reader? It Do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46211017)

To be more grammatically correct: It Does! (ran out of space in the subject box).
It so happens the Nook app works quite well on my Acer W3 with Win 8.1.

Re:How can it not already have an e-reader? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 9 months ago | (#46211187)

Not sure about what runs on windows phone, but as far as my Surface goes, here's the experience. There are many eReader apps as well as an official Kindle app. The reason that MS wants to do this is because they want to make money off the actual sales of books, just like Amazon makes money from the sales of Kindle books. Having more competition in this arena will help keep prices down. If Amazon has the lowest price, buy the book there. If Microsoft has the lowest price, you can buy it there. I see no problem with MS wanting to be another content provider. It fits right in with their XBox music and XBox videos thing that they are already running. Although I wish they would drop XBox from the name of these services. It's confusing to the users.

Everybody gone Beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210381)

Even Slashdot chosed the dark side and beta'd their website.

Ironic (2)

John Nemesh (3244653) | about 9 months ago | (#46210527)

Since anyone who can read is not the target audience for either the Xbox or Windows 8!

Xbox reading... really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210571)

When you think about "Xbox" as a brand which comes first into mind:

a) big budget first person shooters
b) reading literature

Re:Xbox reading... really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46211029)

c) Netflix

Let's face it, a lot of us with old 360s stopped playing games long ago...

Not saying everyone, but a lot of us.

And they have been here before... (3, Interesting)

R_Harrold (669587) | about 9 months ago | (#46210627)

Anyone remember the Microsoft Reader application? They abandoned the application and all of the folks who purchased DRM protected material for it when they came out with the Windows Phone. Let's hope that they don't make the same mistakes again.

Re:And they have been here before... (2)

snakeplissken (559127) | about 9 months ago | (#46211887)

Let's hope that they don't make the same mistakes again.

who, microsoft, or the abandoned purchasers?

Re:And they have been here before... (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 9 months ago | (#46212881)

Touche! Mod parent up insightful / funny !

This is why Microsoft fails nowadays. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210661)

It's not about building the best app - queue jokes that it never was, but it was - it's about buying whoever has something that is doing somewhat well and selling that. This is how you spend $600 million and end up with nothing.

But get a few good programmers together and for orders of magnitude less you could have the very best. And perhaps it would sell itself.

A Few Years From Now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210779)

Microsoft announced it will be discontinuing its reader app due to lack of interest. Any books, magazines and comics you bought will no longer be accessible after the closure.

It'll be Games for Windows Live all over again. They'll come late to the market with a crappy product that nobody wants, they'll pay some publishers to link their products to the Microsoft reader service to try and attract users, and when it fails to do so they'll shut down their service and everything you bought will stop working.

fuck microshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46210929)

hahahaha fuck you and your fucking lame ideas and software

Competing Against Amazon (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 9 months ago | (#46211071)

I know that Microsoft still likes to think of itself as the 800lb gorilla that can just walk into any area it chooses and dominate, but in the eBook market, Microsoft is a mouse and Amazon is the 800lb gorilla. For better or worse, Amazon essentially *is* the eBook market. (Source [digitalbookworld.com] - Amazon has 67% of the market. Next is Barnes & Noble with 11.8% and Apple with 8.2%.)

If Microsoft is going to win over eBook readers, they are going to need to offer something substantial to woo market share away from Amazon. I honestly don't see that happening and it's not like they can use Windows 8 as leverage the way they used to leverage Windows to prop up IE against other browsers. They'll probably launch this, it will languish in the market for a few years, and then it will be killed off.

Re:Competing Against Amazon (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | about 9 months ago | (#46211273)

...like not being a Windows-only book format. That's over. Kindle and Nook books can be read on just about any device. If Microsoft thinks they can introduce a new ebook format at this stage of the game that's Windows only, they're in worse shape than even Slashdot-level schadenfreude could imagine.

Re:Competing Against Amazon (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 9 months ago | (#46211407)

Who says it has to be Windows only? They could release apps for Android and iOS to let you read the books you purchase off their book store.

Re:Competing Against Amazon (1)

enharmonix (988983) | about 9 months ago | (#46212977)

Who says it has to be Windows only?

Stop and think about that for a second. With the exception of Office for Mac, how many cross-platform apps from Microsoft can you name? I don't really have a big problem with MS like most /.ers do, but even I know that MS is not a big fan of cross-platform development. One OS to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.

Re:Competing Against Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46212861)

You would think that Microsoft should have already learned that it can't just dominate any area (see "Zune" and "Surface").

Re:Competing Against Amazon (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 9 months ago | (#46215509)

I know that Microsoft still likes to think of itself as the 800lb gorilla that can just walk into any area it chooses and dominate, but in the eBook market, Microsoft is a mouse and Amazon is the 800lb gorilla. For better or worse, Amazon essentially *is* the eBook market. (Source - Amazon has 67% of the market. Next is Barnes & Noble with 11.8% and Apple with 8.2%.)

And the DoJ has decided that was a good thing - because as long as Amazon can dump ebooks, no competitor can come in and end the practice because it causes ebook prices to rise. (See Apple). Amazon's marketshare was much higher prior to 2010 (when the iBookstore opened) - closer to 95% or so.

Of course, competition hurts consumers when the monopolist is dumping because prices rise and people pay more. (Yes, Amazon was selling ebooks below cost).

And B&N has just laid off a bunch of people from its Nook business. And the DoJ is seeking massive punishments from Apple.

In the end, if you're not Amazon, you can't run an ebook store as there's no way to make money and if you cause prices to rise because you're not dumping the books like Amazon is, well.

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