Seeming to have lost interest in competing with Amazon, Apple Books and Google Play Books, Microsoft is shutting down the ebooks category at the Microsoft Store.
Users would now no longer be able to buy, rent or pre-order ebooks from the software giant’s facility.
“Starting April 2, 2019, the books category in Microsoft Store will be closing. Unfortunately, this means that starting July 2019 your ebooks will no longer be available to read,” the company wrote in a post on its support page on Tuesday.
The move comes as part of the software giant’s strategy to help streamline focus points for Microsoft Store.
However, users would still be allowed to read their rented books through the duration of the rental period.
For users who had already placed pre-orders, the company said, the orders are being cancelled and nothing is being charged for the purchases.
With the government focusing on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) as people are increasingly adopting digital technologies, India can lead in setting standards for ethical use of AI, a top Microsoft executive said on Friday.
“The real application of AI needs to be to empower human ingenuity and to accelerate innovation for all kinds of work and thinking,” Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, told IANS.
In an earlier interview with IANS on the eve of 73rd Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the government is trying to leverage technology like AI and ML to improve school education.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her maiden Budget speech in July announced that the government will lay focus on new-age skills like AI, Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality and Robotics.
“About 91 per cent of organisations today plan to leverage AI within the next three years to drive their businesses and the biggest issue they point out for not using it right now is lack of skills,” Maheshwari said.
“India is among the top three geographies globally in terms of the supply of skills for AI and that bodes very well for India to lead and contribute significantly in the world of AI,” Maheshwari added.
“We can very much create use cases and the standards for ethical use of AI. I am quite optimistic on the role India will play in the emergence of AI and the principles of AI,” he noted.
Microsoft on Friday announced a partnership with the Indian School of Business (ISB) to equip business leaders with tools and strategies to make their organisations AI-driven.
“The initiative we are launching today between ISB and Microsoft really addresses not only the issue of creating right awareness around the skill set needed to drive the AI strategies, but also provide the tool sets to create the AI strategies, to create the discussion around what culture is needed inside an organisation to drive AI and also have the awareness of the ethics and principles around it,” Maheshwari emphasised. (IANS)