SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 30, 1999 — Today at Seybold SF ’99, Microsoft Corp. announced the development of Microsoft® Reader, a new PC software application designed to deliver an on-screen computer reading experience that for the first time approaches the convenience and quality of paper.
“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 TM font-rendering technology. Developed by Microsoft Research, ClearType greatly improves font resolution on LCD screens to deliver a paper-like display. Microsoft Reader also pays strict attention to the traditions and benefits of good typography. It offers a clean, uncluttered display; ample margins; proper spacing, leading and kerning; plus powerful tools for book-marking, highlighting and annotation. It includes a built-in dictionary as well as a Library that can store and manage a large collection of books and other documents. It also features a flexible copy-protection system that allows publishers to distribute titles with protection from piracy and illegal copying.
Various publishers, book vendors and eBook pioneers have expressed support for Microsoft Reader. “Microsoft is to be applauded for helping enable meaningful on-screen reading,” said Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Penguin-Putnam. “This technology gives publishers and authors a better opportunity to reach readers with their titles in an electronic medium.”
“It is the dawn of the age of the eBook,” said Steve Riggio, vice chairman of Barnes & Noble. “Microsoft Reader will vastly improve the readability of content on PCs and laptops and bring it to an installed base of millions of readers.”
In his keynote address at the Seybold SF ’99 conference, Brass predicted Microsoft Reader would change the pace of electronic book adoption by enabling hundreds of millions of existing PCs and laptops to function as high-quality eBooks.
“In less than 15 years, more than half of all titles sold will be electronic,” Brass told the conference audience in his address. “Advances in computer displays and storage have made electronic reading possible; Microsoft Reader will make it widespread and profitable.”
“Until now, the lack of readability on a typical PC or notebook display has been the biggest obstacle to the widespread adoption of emerging technologies, such as electronic books, that emphasize continuous, long-duration reading on screen.” Brass said. “With Microsoft Reader and ClearType, authors and publishers will be able to present works of a very high quality, which consumers will be eager to purchase.”
To ensure that customers have easy access to a wide range of titles for electronic reading, Microsoft is working closely with publishers, distributors, retailers and eBook pioneers to establish standards that will nurture the fledgling electronic book industry. In October 1998, Microsoft joined with dozens of other industry leaders to create the Open eBook Standard, which provides publishers with a common standard for formatting and preparing electronic titles.
Microsoft Reader is scheduled to be available for Windows® operating system-based PCs and laptops early next year. Microsoft Reader is the first product to be announced by the Emerging Technologies Group, led by Brass, which is part of the Business Productivity Group that produces Microsoft Office.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
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