Topical items and views on the impact of digitisation on publishing and its content and the issues that make the news. This blog follows the report 'Brave New World',
(http://www.ewidgetsonline.com/vcil/bravenewworld.html ), published by the Booksellers Association of the UK and Ireland and authored by Martyn Daniels. The views and comments expressed are those of the author.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Microsoft Return to eBooks Via Nook
The breaking news that Microsoft have bought heavily
into Barnes and Noble to create a new venture which encompasses their Nook,
digital and college business is shall we say a surprise and a significant move
for both parties. Microsoft will invest some $300 million for a 17.6% stake in
the new venture which will be valued at some $1.7 billion.
Obviously, the dust has to settle and much has to be
revealed, but it has obvious to many that B&N needed a partner with clout
and deep pockets and Microsoft certainly can bring that to the table, but they
also needed a global partner and Microsoft ticks that box too. Microsoft
also needed to get back into the mobile marketplace but had previously
walked away from ebooks at that famous BEA in 2008 when they literally droppedWindows BookSearch.
So B&N divides, its business gets some cash,
raises its valuation and gets a big brother with only a minority stake today
and potential for more investment in the future. That is certainly good
business for B&N and one which must seem like Christmas to their investors.
The questions are now about speed, focus and how
Microsoft’s interests are projected onto an Android platform. We still have to
see how the international offer develops and the sixty four dollar question
remains over Microsoft’s sticking power and whether if the going got tough they
would simply walk away again.