Microsoft Invests $300 Million in Nook to Take on Amazon and Apple in E-Book Market
One of the first benefits for customers will be a NOOK application for Windows 8, which will extend the reach of Barnes & Noble’s digital bookstore by providing one of the world’s largest digital catalogues of e-Books, magazines and newspapers to hundreds of millions of Windows customers in the U.S. and internationally.As part of the deal, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have also settled their patent dispute, which saw Microsoft suing for infringement by the Nook reader in a move Barnes & Noble had positioned as an attack on all Android-based systems. The new deal will see Barnes & Noble and Newco holding a royalty-bearing license on the Microsoft patents in question.
The inclusion of Barnes & Noble’s College business is an important component of Newco’s strategic vision. Through the newly formed Newco, Barnes & Noble’s industry leading NOOK Study software will provide students and educators the preeminent technology platform for the distribution and management of digital education materials in the market.
The Microsoft/Barnes & Noble venture seeks to increase competition in the e-book market, taking on both Amazon's dominant position and Apple's upstart status that has seen the iPad become a popular e-reading option for consumers but much lower adoption of iBookstore content. Barnes & Noble has had some success with Nook, but its momentum has slowed recently and recent antitrust suits against Apple and book publishers breaking down the new agency model for e-book distribution have raised concerns that the industry will quickly return to a near-monopoly for Amazon.