That very moment at Microsoft's headquarters, in Redmond, Washington, a group of executives were developing a device that, in 10 years' time, would transform a multi-billion-dollar industry: an electronic reader that allowed customers to download digital versions of any written material-books, magazines, newspapers, whatever. But, despite its multi-year head start, Microsoft would not be the one to introduce the game-changing innovation to the market. Instead, the big profits would eventually go to Amazon and Apple.
The spark of inspiration for the device had come from a 1979 work of science fiction, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.
The novel put forth the idea that a single book could hold all knowledge in the galaxy.