Microsoft, Amazon Offer Kindle App at Windows 7 Debut

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2009-10-22 Print this article Print

Microsoft announced during the Windows 7 launch that it had partnered with to create an application, "Kindle for PC," that allows e-books to be ported from's proprietary e-reader to laptops or desktops. In addition, Windows 7's touch-screen functionality allows users to navigate Kindle e-books with a swipe of a finger, or zoom with a pinching motion. The e-reader market-share battle grew even more intense this week with the announcement of the Barnes & Noble Nook.

Microsoft announced the debut of "Kindle for PC," a free application for reading Kindle e-books on PCs, during the Oct. 22 launch of its Windows 7 operating system.

In addition to displaying Kindle e-books on desktops and laptops, the application also allows users to download Kindle books from's Kindle Store. In addition to proprietary Kindle e-readers and PCs, users can also access their books on the iPhone and iPod Touch.  

News of the Kindle application was announced during the Windows 7 launch event in New York City. Headlined by Steve Ballmer, the event was designed to emphasize both Windows 7 and Microsoft's full-throated embrasure of its "three screens and a cloud" strategy, in which its operating system powers a variety of devices-smartphones, televisions and PCs-whose data is stored in the cloud.

Windows 7 also includes touch-screen functionality that comes into play with the Kindle app, with users able to navigate through pages by swiping the screen, as well as zoom in and out with a finger-pinching motion. In a bit of cloud-synchronization technology, bookmarks saved on Kindle e-books being read on the PC will transfer onto a Kindle device, as will the automatic forwarding to the last page read.

Much of that functionality, although likely in development for weeks and months, seems a direct counter to the functionality in a new e-reader, the Nook, being produced by Barnes & Noble. Announced on Oct. 20 in a New York City event, the Nook also allows e-books from its online store to be ported from its proprietary e-reader onto other devices, and lets users transfer their bookmarks between devices.

Perhaps in response to the Nook, chopped the price of its Kindle device by another $20. Now $259, the device can download books in the U.S. and 100 other countries through a built-in AT&T 3G wireless connection.

In the same motion, also eliminated a U.S.-downloads-only version of the device that it had previously been selling at that $259 price point. Amazon now markets the Kindle and the $489 Kindle DX, which features a 9.7-inch screen in contrast to the original Kindle's 6-inch, and is still only capable of downloading within the U.S.

That price-lowering, combined with the new Kindle PC app, suggests that sees the Barnes & Noble device as yet another competitive threat in the increasingly crowded e-reader space.

Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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