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Microsoft Working on New Reader App for Windows 8

By - Source: TechRadar | B 11 comments

A recent job opening posted by Microsoft has stirred up speculation that the company is working on an Xbox-branded reading application that will replace the current one in Windows 8. News of the job opening arrives as sources claimed on Monday that Barnes & Noble laid off most of its Nook hardware staff. Their departure follows the departure of VP of Hardware, Bill Saperstein, in January.

"We've been very clear about our focus on rationalizing the NOOK business and positioning it for future success and value creation," a Barnes & Noble rep said. "As we've aligned NOOK's cost structure with business realities, staffing levels in certain areas of our organization have changed, leading to some job eliminations. We're not going to comment specifically on those eliminations."

Due to poor sales of the Nook tablets, the company decided to bail out of the hardware business in 2013 and focus on its own applications and digital distribution. The hardware will be shifted to third-party partners to create co-branded tablets.

Back in April 2012, Microsoft revealed that it invested $300 million USD into a Barnes & Noble subsidiary that handles the e-book division of the book store chain, as well as the college bookstore unit. Microsoft claims a 17.6 percent equity stake while Barnes & Noble owns approximately 82.4 percent. One of the first products from this new subsidiary was the Nook app for Windows 8.  

That leads us to the current job listing, discovered by Chinese Microsoft blog LiveSino. Microsoft is looking for a software development engineer to build "a groundbreaking interactive reading app on Windows, which incorporates books, magazines, and comics."

Keep in mind that Microsoft already has the music (Xbox Music) and video (Xbox Video) aspect covered. The current Reader app merely opens up files stored locally and in the cloud, supporting PDF, XPS and TIFF files. The app is a basic reader that doesn't offer books, magazines, and whatnot to purchase like the Kindle and Nook apps.

So what does Nook have to do with a new ebook reader? There's speculation that Microsoft's new effort may be powered by Barnes & Noble -- another byproduct of the 2012 agreement. This is just speculation, of course, but the Microsoft job application is very real, as is Barnes & Noble eliminating a large portion of the Nook hardware staff.

According to the listing, the individual taking the job would be on Microsoft's MVR team, or the Music, Video, Reading team. "The Music, Video, and Reading team has been brought together in Devices & Studios (DnS) as THE Microsoft team laser-focused to deliver the next generation of media content experiences across devices powered by the services and magic of Xbox LIVE," reads the description.

Sounds like a fun place to work. Perhaps we'll see the new Reading app during BUILD 2014 in April or in Windows 8.1 Update 1.

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  • -2 Hide
    rokit , February 10, 2014 10:15 PM
    I see, ms is still trying to sqeeze somewhere where no gives a crap about it.
  • -3 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , February 10, 2014 10:26 PM
    I wish they'd just stop trying to make Windows 8 usable. Just start over.
  • 4 Hide
    damianrobertjones , February 11, 2014 2:31 AM
    "I see, ms is still trying to sqeeze somewhere where no gives a crap about it."Tut. Just because YOU do not care does not mean that others also don't. Grow up dude.
  • Display all 11 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 11, 2014 4:22 AM
    This is not about Windows 8 or even about Xbox, this is about a Reader App. So quit with the stupid fanboi bullshit. Somebody give me a decent reader app that can open all my e-books regardless of format and that is all it takes to make e-book readers happy. Kindle users that can't open ePub files and such are just crying out for someone to whip the rug out from them. But the name? How about sticking with the "One" branding with "OneReader" and buy out the apps that already use the name.
  • -1 Hide
    antilycus , February 11, 2014 5:16 AM
    Nobody cares about XPS or TIFF, simply because it's defaulted or jammed down consumers throats by OEMS does NOT NOT NOT mean that businesses use it. They use PDF. MS needs to stop trying to jam it's technologies down consumers throats in hopes that one stays down. This isn't about being grown up @damienrobertjones it's about being realistic to consumer demand. Windows 8 w/ metro does NOT have demand from consumers. It's another test experiment on the public. 8.1 solved NOTHING but actually have the ability to boot your desktop instead of a touch interface. MS needs to pick a game plan (consumer business or retail business) and stick with it. They've already announced a couple times they are focusing on consumer products and NOT business product, now they need to put up or shut up.
  • 0 Hide
    CRITICALThinker , February 11, 2014 6:09 AM
    I think that they should also turn their ebook reader(app hopefully) into a sort of ebook manager on the desktop, I normally use calibre, but it would be nice to have an alternative if it has the same usage.
  • 2 Hide
    DRosencraft , February 11, 2014 6:51 AM
    I don't know where this is coming from, but MSFT has not said it would focus on consumer and not business. They may have said they'd dedicate more than they have to consumer, but business is where MSFT makes a ton of money. They'd never give that up. And, as I've said before, experimenting, even if it fails, is necessary. How is anything supposed to change or improve if a company doesn't take the risk of trying something new. Everyone jumps down company's throats when they don't take any risks, but the moment they do and it isn't what they want, those same people scream about the company forcing things on people. This is a small scale project that a company like MSFT does all the time with little fanfare or notice. Let's not blow it out of proportion.
  • -1 Hide
    biohazrdfear , February 11, 2014 9:25 AM
    Nothing is wrong with Windows 8. Better performance than 7, lighter, and fun to use. People need to stop griping and complaining. But personally, I don't read enough to care about a reader app. Everyone is bashing on MSFT because of all the new things they have been doing. Hello, people. Its a mobile market now, and they're trying to jump into a game that was already hot for years. Just let them iron out the kinks, and if you don't like Windows 8, just shut up already and keep using 7. Or wait until 9.
  • 1 Hide
    biohazrdfear , February 11, 2014 9:25 AM
    Nothing is wrong with Windows 8. Better performance than 7, lighter, and fun to use. People need to stop griping and complaining. But personally, I don't read enough to care about a reader app. Everyone is bashing on MSFT because of all the new things they have been doing. Hello, people. Its a mobile market now, and they're trying to jump into a game that was already hot for years. Just let them iron out the kinks, and if you don't like Windows 8, just shut up already and keep using 7. Or wait until 9.
  • -1 Hide
    tcb1005 , February 11, 2014 9:32 AM
    I would like Windows 8 more if it came with less bloat ware pre-installed. That being said I do like the way the Metro UI is being used and I could see the Metro UI being used to a good extent in a reader app.
  • -1 Hide
    antilycus , February 11, 2014 6:32 PM
    Windows 8 is not keyboard and mouse friendly, or tab index friendly...it MIGHt be if it' didn't have Metro but as usual MSFT is depending on developers to work around MSFT *cough I.E.* instead of realizing that the market will move on with MSFT (Chrome, Firefox, Android, iOS, Opera...they all started because MS couldn't play nice...all these platforms (minus iOS) read common HTML/HTML5 without all the silverlight, ms-java specific crapola... this is your proof the MSFT doens't have the power to make the calls, consumers do). Schools are implimenting ChromeBooks to students. People are deploying Android phones to CEO's and management none of these thigns work with Active Directory the "old" bread and butter of MSFT Business. Exchange is outdated, exchange 365 came right before they were pushed out of the market by Google or any other hosting company. MSFT isn't the powerhouse all investors and business people (read execs) want to believe they are. They are losing share daily... It's the lazy developers not willing to learn something new that will keep them in business until I.T. managers start turning down their antequainted technologies for something more up to date.