06 April 2009

Microsoft and e-book research

Speaking of e-books... When Microsoft first came out with Microsoft Reader—their e-book technology—I had the opportunity to go to Redmond and learn about it first-hand.

They talked for a long time in detail about research that had studied the experience of reading. They talked about the findings of those studies. They talked about how the features of their e-book technology had been based on those findings.

So I asked if there was any research confirming that their technology had in fact reproduced the same things that the original studies had found.

I suppose I was actually rather impressed that the lead Microsoft guy there didn’t completely side-step the question. He knew that there wasn’t. He stated so plainly. He actually used the word “anecdotal” to qualify what “evidence” they did have.

I mean...it was an honest question. I’d just come to expect that questions like that get answered with a “yes”, a “don’t know”, or a lot of blather to cover up a “don’t know”. A rather straightforward, informed “no” was a bit of a surprise.

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