Ballmer: Who Needs E-Readers When You've got a PC?

Paul Lilly

It's hard to argue with the success of Amazon's Kindle e-book reader, which has prompted competition running the gamut from Asus and MSI, to startups looking to cash in on the rapidly growing market. But one company Amazon apparently needn't worry about is Microsoft.

"We have a device for reading. It's the most popular device in the world. It's the PC," Microsoft's Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said on Thursday.

Er, what? But Ballmer wasn't joking and went on to say that Microsoft would be willing to work with Amazon to port more books over to the PC.

"I would love to see companies like Amazon and others bring their books to the PC," Ballmer said. "Hopefully, we can get that to happen with Barnes & Noble or Amazon or somebody. But no, we are not interested in e-readers ourselves."

Microsoft might not be interested in e-readers, but consumers are. Portable readers are expected to do particularly well this holiday shopping season, and Industry research firm Forrester this week raised its forecast for e-reader sales by 50 percent to 3 million units.

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