It has gone on to become one of the most popular gadgets in the world.
But back in 1998 Microsoft founder Bill Gates rejected the e-reader because he did not think it would take off.Sales of the leading e-book reader, the Amazon Kindle, rose 35 per cent to £11billion in the final quarter of 2011...
Such a design has also become ubiquitous on smart phones like the iPhone - and even Microsoft's own gadgets.
According to latest issue of Vanity Fair, a programmer involved in the Microsoft e-reader project claims Gates said no because 'he didn’t like the user interface because it didn't look like Windows', a reference to Microsoft’s computer operating system.
The comments were made for an upcoming story about the 'downfall' of Microsoft, which is scheduled to hit newsstands later this month.
According to the programmer, Gates told his engineers to go back to the drawing board because the device they brought him had a touch screen.
At the time, Gates instead wanted something with a keyboard as he thought that was where he thought the future lay.
However, digital content accounted for for eight per cent of the total value of book sales in 2011, up from five per cent the year before.
The sticking point was the touch screen because Gates wanted everything to go through Microsoft Office, which used a keyboard.
The e-reader was dismissed as 'unimportant' and the team told to go and come up with something else instead.
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