Microsoft has reached a deal with Barnes & Noble that will both see the patent dispute between the two companies reach a conclusion, and see Microsoft investing a significant amount of cash in the the Barnes & Noble Nook project.
According to reports, Microsoft will invest $300 million in the Nook, and receive 17.6 percent in ownership of Newco, a preliminary company to be renamed, which will oversee further development of the Nook.
From the press release from Microsoft:
[quote]The new subsidiary, referred to in this release as Newco, will bring together the digital and College businesses of Barnes & Noble. Microsoft will make a $300 million investment in Newco at a post-money valuation of $1.7 billion in exchange for an approximately 17.6% equity stake. Barnes & Noble will own approximately 82.4% of the new subsidiary, which will have an ongoing relationship with the company’s retail stores. Barnes & Noble has not yet decided on the name of Newco.[/quote]
While the investment in the e-book reader is obviously a big part of the news, perhaps the news of Microsoft’s involvement in Barnes & Noble’s digital and College businesses is of more importance. It’s difficult not to see this move as a strategic attempt to not only counter Amazon and the company’s Kindle Fire, but also Apple’s immense push in K-12 and college markets with the iPad.
Apple released iBooks Author to make digital textbook creation easier and more immersive for students, and Microsoft is now actively getting involved in Barnes & Noble College, which is aimed, as their website states, at giving “students the ability to download and organize electronic textbooks, as well as keep all of their notes, syllabuses, and so on in one safe place.” It’s pretty obvious at this point that the key to tablet and e-reader supremacy lies within the confines of the education system.
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