It looks like Amazon is officially going to stop supporting the Kindle App for PC on Windows 7 computers moving forward.
Windows 7 is no longer listed as a supported operating system, and there’s this note on Amazon’s help page for installing the Kindle app for PC:
Note: The Kindle app will no longer receive support on Windows 7. We recommend that you upgrade to the latest version of Windows on your PC.
As noted on the help page, Windows 7 users can still use the Kindle Cloud Reader to access their Kindle library using a web browser, but that’s certainly a more limited option.
It’s unclear exactly what this means at this point for Windows 7 users that use the Kindle App for PC to download Kindle ebooks.
For one thing, if Amazon discontinues downloading ebooks using the Kindle App for PC it could make it more difficult to remove DRM from Kindle ebooks to be able to read them on non-Kindle devices. There’s still the download via USB option for Kindle owners, and hopefully that’s not going away any time soon, but this could complicate things a bit.
There’s a thread at MobileRead with a discussion about the topic of what could happen to the Kindle PC app moving forward. Windows 11 is going to support Android apps, and they’re going to be using Amazon’s appstore for apps. The Kindle App for Android is a lot more developed than the PC app, and it adds several additional features, so Amazon might eventually want move toward using the Android app on Windows computers instead.
As noted by jhowell in post #10 of that thread, the next version of Kindle for PC, version 1.32, comes with an ominous note about Windows 7 that is open to interpretation:
You can continue reading the books you already own. Please upgrade to the latest version of Windows to continue receiving updates and read new books. Visit kindle-desktop-requirements for more information.
It makes it sound like Windows 7 users won’t be able to download new purchases at all using the latest version of the Kindle for PC app. If so, that could be a problem. I guess we’ll find out soon enough when they start rolling out the 1.32 update…
It feels strange nobody has commented here, and that the mobileread thread doesn’t show more activity either. I don’t think I should be the only one worried about the future. There are some authors in my auto-buy list that are Amazon exclusive, and I don’t read in Kindles or the Kindle app, even if I did, I’ve been burn before by stores disappearing, I backup everything I buy.
Not being able to control your personal backup of your books is going to worry a lot of people, and Amazon is making it more difficult as time passes, maybe there aren’t so many Windows 7 people out there, but the move to Android apps is going to upset a lot more people if it becomes a reality. Yes, it’s too soon yet, but the mobileread thread at least should be full of people speculating…
Outside of the developer’s corner, the Kindle section at MobileRead has kind of turned into a ghost town. There used to be way more activity and discussion on a daily basis. I guess that’s what happens when Amazon abandons Kindle development for 2 full years and counting.