Microsoft Announces New Software for Reading on Screen

Posted on September 1, 1999

Microsoft Corp. has announced the development of Microsoft Reader, a PC software application which will enable all Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT operating system-based machines to read electronic titles. Microsoft Reader is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2000 and will also be available on the Web.

"With Microsoft Reader, we take a giant step forward in making it possible to enjoy reading books and other long documents on a PC or laptop," said Dick Brass, vice president of Technology Development at Microsoft. "For customers, this means a reading experience closer than ever to that of printed paper. For publishers and authors, this means that electronic books and periodicals can now quickly grow to become a vast and lucrative new industry."

Microsoft Reader is the first product to include ClearType font-rendering technology, which is designed to improve font resolution on LCD screens to deliver a paper-like display. It also features a copy-protection system that allows publishers to distribute titles with protection from piracy and illegal copying.

"Microsoft Reader validates the electronic-book concept," said Steve Cohen, senior vice president of St. Martin's Press. "This could be the springboard that will now allow electronic-book publishing to reach millions of potential book readers, many of whom do not presently buy hardcover or paperback books in bookstores. This represents a great opportunity for our authors!"

"The poor reading experience provided by a typical PC or notebook display has been the biggest obstacle to the widespread adoption of electronic books," said Dick Brass, vice president of Technology Development at Microsoft. "Microsoft Reader provides our ClearType font improvement and other technologies that will make on-screen reading much more comparable to reading on paper. In a short time, we hope to enable tens of millions of laptop and desktop computers to read eBooks, dramatically increasing the opportunities for publishers, authors, retailers and eBook pioneers."