If you’re reading a book these days, chances are that the book is in electronic format either on an e-reader or a tablet. The days of losing your place and paper-cuts aren’t that far from the rearview mirror. It’s needless to say that eBooks are big business. Everyone expected that Microsoft would eventually enter the eBook fray, but this was a real surprise.
Microsoft isn’t going create their format like Apple iBooks or Google Play Books, to compete with Amazon’s Kindle or the Kobo. Rather Microsoft has decided to invest $300 million and create a joint venture partnership with Barnes and Noble making the Nook their eBook of choice for Windows 8. This joint venture, currently called Newco, will be owned 82.4% by Barnes and Mobile with the remaining 17.6% Microsoft. This also ends any pending patent litigation between the two companies and offers both B&N and Newco royalty-free use of Microsoft patents.
In addition to the consumer Nook eBook business, Barnes and Noble’s collegiate arm would be included in Newco. This could potentially pave the way for a competitor to Apple’s iBooks textbooks. The one item of note was the lack of clarification on whether future versions of the Nook tablet which currently runs on a customized version of Android would be switching to Microsoft technology or staying with the current platform.
Bill Hill says
Everyone expected Microsoft would eventually enter the eBook fray? You clearly don’t know your history.
Microsoft “entered the eBook fray” in 1998, developed a software reader, called Microsoft Reader, which gave it a ten-year technology lead, which it then squandered. I know, I was on the team. We told the company it needed an eBook device and a bookstore to succeed in the market. It would not support either at that time. Now, it’s just bought into: a device and a bookstore…