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Fri Jul 8 22:00:42 PDT 2005

Forecasts of an E-Book Era Were, It Seems, Premature


One problem is that technical snags have prevented millions of users of
hand-held personal computers operating Microsoft software from being
able to read most publishers' electronic books. Book publishers are
counting on the portable computer as a more appealing way to read than
the screen of a desktop PC. But after watching the music industry's
piracy problems, book publishers insisted that Microsoft add to its
software for reading electronic books much stronger safeguards against
unauthorized copying than today's hand-held personal computers can

As a result, hand-held computers using this software cannot display most
publishers' books. (Devices using the Palm software can, making them the
most popular way to read electronic books, despite eye-strain from their
diminutive screens.)

"I feel that was one of our greatest shortcomings," Mr. Brass said. He
promised that the next generation of hand-held computers using a
Microsoft operating system would be able to run the improved software.

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