Ballmer: Our E-reader is the Windows PC

E-book readers are slowly filling the market, but they've yet to hit critical mass. Amazon appears to be leading the way with the Kindle, but there is still plenty room for competition. Could it be Apple, someday, with its tablet that'll do for books what it did to music with the iPod? Whoever it'll be, it won't be Microsoft.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said last week that the world's largest software maker has no plans to compete in the e-reader market. The reasoning behind this is that Microsoft already has software for what Ballmer says is the most popular e-reader in the world.

"We have a device for reading. It's the most popular device in the world. It's the PC," Ballmer said on Thursday on the sidelines of television show, reported Reuters.

Ballmer added that Microsoft would be open to working with other companies to expand e-reading options to the PC.

"I would love to see companies like Amazon and others bring their books to the PC," Ballmer said. "Hopefully we can get that to happen with Barnes & Noble or Amazon or somebody."

"But no, we are not interested in e-readers ourselves."

Of course, if the market gets big enough, Microsoft might choose to reconsider. After all, just look at the video games and portable music player market.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • JohnnyLucky
    The only problem with using a pc is that I can't get comfortable in bed.
  • kartu
    Sense makes it not...
  • chaohsiangchen
    JohnnyLuckyThe only problem with using a pc is that I can't get comfortable in bed.
    Not considering the option of using a projector on your ceiling?
  • HolyCrusader
    While I don't applaud Microsoft all that often, I do agree with Ballmer. I have a PC, and I don't mind reading on my 22" LCD Screen. I have an old Palm T|X that vastly more versatile than the Kindle or other e-Readers, and costs less. Most importantly, I can take data from my PC and load it onto my Palm for mobile reading. Granted it's not as big of a screen as the Kindle, but I don't have to worry about Amazon deleting my info :)
  • Honis
    With netbooks I can't imagine Microsoft being to worried about the kindle. The kindle only has battery life and its readability in daylight over a netbook which are both hardware issues (ie not Microsoft immediate domain). Acer (i think) was making a duel LCD/e-paper laptop/netbook screen which if brought to market could vastly increase netbook battery life and daylight readability for the same or slightly higher price than a Kindle. It would also be a better productivity tool than the kindle since it can actually run programs.
  • SAL-e
    In short term e-readers are going to win and MS is going to miss the profits. In long term Ballmer is correct. The PC (netbook, tablet) and e-reader will become one device. The biggest obstacle is stupid copyright laws. And paper books are going to stay with us for very long time. They don't require batteries and Amazon can't take it back once I have payed for it.
  • kittle
    JohnnyLuckyThe only problem with using a pc is that I can't get comfortable in bed.Same here.

    Plus they dont fit in your carryon luggage, and are extreemly awkward to take on the train, or checkout from a library.
  • geoffs
    Does Ballmer ever say anything useful or is everything that comes out of his mouth some form of Windows marketing drivel?
  • erichlund
    Funny he should mention Barnes and Noble. I have a Gigabyte netbook/tablet PC that I use to download and read books from Barnes and Noble. I like their reader a bit better than the Mobipocket version. OK, their essentially the same under the hood, but B&N's has a battery monitor and you can access the touch screen interface in more ways.
  • Yoder54
    Yea, I like those pretty blue screens that Windows throws at me once in a while...I just can't figure out if I am reading Moby Dick, or a bad interpretation of an Aleister Crowly dream.