Does Removal of Kindle App Signal Demise of Windows as a Tablet OS?

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With Amazon dropping their Windows Store Kindle app, I’m suddenly finding that my Surface Pro 3 with W10 is not so attractive as a tablet/2-in-1.  Reading and browsing the web were my two primary uses of SP3 as a tablet.

I understood that W10 wasn’t ideal in the tablet role.  W10 was a step back from W8; although, things improved a bit in the Anniversary update.  The bigger problem is the app gap, which is just as bad on “big Windows” as it is with W10M/WP.  I just didn’t realize how much the Kindle app meant to me and how much it defined my tablet experience with the SP3 and W10.

I knew Amazon wasn’t actively doing anything with the Kindle app, but it was useable and I could tolerate the lack of new features.  I just never expected them to screw us over, or screw MS over, and completely drop the app.  I’m curious why MS isn’t courting them as much as they have Facebook to keep their store/UWP app going. 

The desktop Kindle app is a joke.  It always has been.  I’ve never enjoyed using it, even before W8 came along.  I tried it again when Amazon announced that they were dropping the store app.  It definitely isn’t very touch friendly.  For example, I can’t highlight with touch.  And full screen mode is a kludge.  It doesn’t behave in the way we’ve grown to expect full screen apps to behave since W8.

Does this signal the end of Windows as a viable tablet/2-in-1 OS for typical consumers? While it was never an easy recommendation, this one app removal really changes my entire stance of recommending the Surface line to a “normal” user. 

Is this also the beginning of an accelerated end to Windows as a consumer device OS?  I sort of feel like it is.

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6 Comments
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  1. 1 | Reply
    jimchamplin - 1 month ago

    I found a novel solution to the problem of whether ebooks will work on my platform of choice: Books. Better display, no reason to worry about batteries, and they work anywhere that light exists.

    Most of all I can get them used at half, sometimes 1/4 or 1/8 the cost of new depending on how old it is. No price-fixing issues here!

  2. 0 | Reply
    inlocoabsentia Alpha Member #1634 - 4 weeks ago

    While the loss of Kindle is a big step backwards, calling Windows dead as a consumer OS is still a overblown. Not all web sites are being made into apps, and Chromebooks still aren't proven in serving all of a home customer's needs. I don't see evidence yet that iOS or Android devices are fully replacing home PCs. It is possible that we get to the point where you only have an iOS or Android device in the home (I'm presuming Chrome OS in its current form is eventually subsumed by Android), but I don't see that future as a certainty yet.

  3. Paul Thurrott
    0 | Reply
    Paul Thurrott Alpha Member #1 - 4 weeks ago

    After a brief moment where mini-tablets were all the rage, Windows on tablets of any size has basically gone nowhere. As with Windows Phone, it's the apps.  And as with phone, I'm not sure that this ever gets fixed.

    1. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 4 weeks ago

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      There's a semantic argument about whether Surface Pros could be considered tablets, but I'll short-circuit it and assume you mean ARM tablets. There are few new ARM-based Windows devices of any form factor available for sale today. There are slim pickings in Windows software which could run on ARM devices.

      That leads to a broader question. If there are never more than 100m Xboxes in use and never more than 100m ARM-based Windows phones and tablets in use, where's the demand for UWP apps other than desktop software distributed through the Windows Store going to come from? HoloLens? Unlikely much software which would require HoloLens would be usable on other types of Windows machines. IoT? Has Windows ever been a leading OS for embedded systems? Plus the same question as for HoloLens: how much software for IoT refrigerators would be useful or even usable on other types of devices?

      Windows has and likely will continue to have dominant user share on PCs, but PCs don't need UWP. More bluntly, PCs don't need the Windows Store, and 3rd party developers who want to sell their software would keep more of the gross sales proceeds selling outside the Windows Store. With PCs in use almost certain to remain 6 to 10 times greater than all other types of Windows devices for the next decade, where's the prospect for riches through the Windows Store which MSFT went on and on about at Build 2011?

      The prospect of 1.5 billion PC users buying mobile apps may have been beautiful to contemplate, but reality has reasserted its hold. The realistic market for UWP/Store apps covers a potential user base of less than 200m. Some day UWP apps may catch on with PC users, but they have to establish themselves on non-PC devices first. Are there enough non-PC Windows device users for that to happen?

  4. 0 | Reply
    VancouverNinja - 1 month ago

    While Amazon is still dominate in cloud services, it feels like they are taking a very aggressive anti-MS stance as result of the Cloud competition. This is a shame and a very 80's approach. I am personally looking at KOBO's - I don't like this crap and I never have agreed with Amazon's control of ebooks only on their ereaders. KOBO looks like the friendliest solution.

    1. Paul Thurrott
      0 | Reply
      Paul Thurrott Alpha Member #1 - 4 weeks ago
      In reply to VancouverNinja:

      I sort of agree with the notion that Amazon is anti-MSFT. But their platform is also the best, and it works great on Kindles, phones, Android tablets and iPads, and on the web too.