If you bought an ebook through Microsoft’s online store, now’s the time to give it a read, or reread, because it will stop working early July.
That’s right, the books you paid for will be literally removed from your electronic bookshelf because, um, Microsoft decided in April it no longer wanted to sell books. It will turn off the servers that check whether your copy was bought legitimately – using the usual anti-piracy digital-rights-management (DRM) tech – and that means your book can’t be verified as being in the hands of its purchaser, and so won’t be displayed.
Even the free-to-download ebooks will fail. According to Redmond, “You can continue to read free books you’ve downloaded until July 2019 when they will no longer be accessible.” And the paid-for ones? “You can continue to read books you’ve purchased until July 2019 when they will no longer be available, and you will receive a full refund of the original purchase price.”
Why has Microsoft done this? We don’t know. All the Windows giant said was that it was “streamlining the strategic focus” of its store. But how much can a DRM server possibly cost? And why is that cost too high for an American corporation with $110bn in annual revenue that makes $16.5bn in profit?