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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

B&N's Nook Gets Huge 'Shot In The Arm' from Microsoft - Sparks Ebook Battle

Propelled by its Nook devices,
Barnes & Noble has more than
 25 percent of the e-book
 market, but it still
lags behind Amazon.
Could Amazon (as well as Apple) be getting a real competitor?

This $600 million dollar investment by Microsoft in Barnes and Noble's Nook will lift both past market leaders who have lost some ground in the recent past.

This deal will give the largest bookstore chain (with 25% of ebook market)a global reach while giving Microsoft a foot in 'one of the the most important battles reshaping the landscape in technology, retailing and media.'

Details given by By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED and JULIE BOSMAN
in the New York Times:

Microsoft Deal Adds to E-Book Battle

By MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED and JULIE BOSMAN

Microsoft agreed to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division on Monday, giving the bookstore chain stronger footing in the hotly contested electronic book market and creating an alliance that could intensify the fight over the future of digital reading.

The deal, which gives Microsoft a 17.6 percent stake, values the Nook unit at $1.7 billion — roughly double Barnes & Noble’s entire market value as of last Friday — and bolsters the bookseller’s efforts to make its digital business the linchpin of its future growth.

The announcement was the latest surprise in an unpredictable and rapidly shifting e-book market, which is crowded with technology giants trying to chip away at Amazon.com’s dominance. Amazon once had close to 90 percent of the e-book market, but since then, a handful of players, including Apple, Google and now Microsoft, have edged in.

The alliance binds together two onetime market leaders that have lost ground. Barnes & Noble, which is the nation’s largest bookstore chain and has more than 25 percent of the e-book market but still lags well behind Amazon, has a rich and powerful partner with global reach. At the same time, the deal will give Microsoft a close ally in one of the most important battles reshaping the landscape in technology, retailing and media.

Microsoft has been forced to radically reimagine Windows, its flagship software franchise, for a future in which much Web browsing, movie watching, book reading and other activities occur on tablets.

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