Microsoft has officially scrapped its books category from the Microsoft Store, meaning Amazon’s market dominance remains almost entirely unchallenged.
The tech giant, which sells a range of software, games, Xbox consoles and laptops from its store, has now removed its Edge electronic books category.
Any customer who have purchased or rented books will be able to access them until early July, and will receive a full refund for their purchase.
“While you can no longer purchase or acquire additional books from the Microsoft Store, you can continue to read your books until July 2019 when refunds will be processed,” Microsoft said in a blogpost.
Microsoft is yet to give an official reason for the move, but according to ZDNet.com, it represents an effort to streamline the Microsoft Store and tighten its strategic focus.
Microsoft’s ebooks programme has struggled for years as it is exclusively accessible on the Microsoft Edge browser, which only about six per cent of people use, compared to Google Chromes 63 per cent.
In 2017 the it sold around 266 million books, a year in which Amazon secured above 80 per cent of the ebook market share in both the US and UK.
This marks the final nail in the coffin for Microsoft’s numerous attempts to enter the market, having launched in 2000 marketing MS Reader for LCD screens, and invested $300 million into Barnes & Noble’s Nook ebook division, before being bought out two years later.