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Microsoft Invests $300 Million In Nook e-Readers 197

First time accepted submitter NGTechnoRobot writes "In a turn for the books the BBC reports that Microsoft has invested $300 million in Barnes and Noble's Nook e-reader. The new Nook reader will integrate with Microsoft's yet-to-be-released Windows 8 operating system. From the article: 'The deal could make Barnes and Noble's Nook e-book reader available to millions of new customers, integrating it with the Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system. The as-yet unnamed new company will be 82.4% owned by Barnes and Noble, with Microsoft getting a 17.6% stake.' Guess the lawsuit's over, folks."
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Microsoft Invests $300 Million In Nook e-Readers

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  • Error in the Summary (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @10:58AM (#39845249)

    Now even the summary doesn't RTFA. It's $300 = £185m, not $300 = £300.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2012 @10:59AM (#39845265)

    I won't lie, that I can't deny

    I did it all for the nook-e

  • DRM on Text Books? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by alexander_686 ( 957440 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @11:08AM (#39845381)

    The item that I find interesting, and we are not talking about, is that Microsoft is taking an ownership position in their college bookstore operations. Now, why is MSFT doing that? I mean, yes, selling overpriced sweatshirts to the student's parents is amazing profitable - but it's not exactly in MSFT core line.

    Why do I think that MSFT is trying to sneak into the online book selling business via text books? And why am I thinking about more DRM / lock down on text books?

    • by edremy ( 36408 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @11:50AM (#39845903) Journal
      The *really* interesting bit? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is pouring money into Open Textbook projects [insidehighered.com].

      This makes sense in my opinion- the total cost for writing a series of 100 and 200 level texts to cover pretty much the entire curriculum is peanuts for something the size of the Gates Foundation, but it could really have a massive impact on the costs of education- check out how much books are vs. tuition at many community colleges.

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

      The keyword I find interesting is "integrate," not "ownership." That MS once again wants to be an industry "leader" by buying (or buying into) an increasingly popular established technology that they ignored until it gained popularity isn't really surprising.

      I'm wondering, exactly, what "integrate" means. They can tie IE so close to the OS that the OS requires it, and I can see how they can justify it (whether I agree with it or not). I don't see how they mean to make an e-reader an integral part of the

  • by rastoboy29 ( 807168 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @11:11AM (#39845429) Homepage
    Isn't it de rigeur that anything Microsoft invests in heavily, especially outside it's core competence, fails?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward




    • Read my thoughts.
      Amazon's Kindle uses linux. I'll stick with that. I just wish they'd use a faster processor than 500 megahertz, because web surfing is painfully slow (especially facebook).

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        >> facebook

        That's not a real book, you know?

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

        But Amazon e-readers run on nearly everything (except Nooks... and even that's possible if you're clever). I'll stick with that, and have my choice of e-readers.... and not be stuck with painfully slow 500Mhz processors.

        Ok, I'm kidding to an extent because I actually inherited a original Nook for reading, not a "real" tablet, and it can't do anything else really. But I inherited it because my kids used them and I got them nicer tablets (Samsung Galaxy Tab 7+) and now they have Kindle software AND Nook sof

        • I didn't buy the Kindle Tablet. No interest. I bought the normal Kindle with black-and-white screen for reading my magazine (the e-version is 67% cheaper) and some web surfing to places my work blocks, like gmail.

    • Microsoft computer peripherals is still active and strong after 20 years. So no.

    • The road is littered with the carcasses of the former partners of Microsoft.

    • I dunno, Apple seems to be doing OK these days... Zing!
  • The company also announces their newest product the Chocolate Nook.
  • B&N Lawsuit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by c++0xFF ( 1758032 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @11:29AM (#39845643)

    Wait ... I thought Microsoft was suing B&N over the Nook Color.

    Now, I realize that we're not talking about the Nook Color in this deal specifically, but this deal smells funny to me anyway.

    • Yeah this is likely about settling the lawsuits. There is no money to be made suing B&N over patents. There is no money to be made suing Microsoft over anti-trust.
    • Re:B&N Lawsuit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @11:58AM (#39846027) Journal

      This deal is about preventing MS's patents being invalidated in court, thus freeing all future Android vendors from paying Microsoft a patent royalty.

      Remeber Lindows? Microsoft paid $20M to make that lawsuit go away before it could have invalidated the "Windows" trademark.

    • From the press release [microsoft.com]:

      Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have settled their patent litigation, and moving forward, Barnes & Noble and Newco will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products.

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @11:37AM (#39845763) Journal

    MS just buried the only lawsuit that could have blown a hole the size of Manhattan in their anti-Android patent portfolio.

    • Alternatively, it could be B&N realizing that they're not able to compete with the Amazon Kindle and Fire juggernaut. Have you seen Amazon's recent results? The Fire has more than half of the Android tablets marketshare sewn up and all of the unified ecosystem is immensely helping them and making B&N fall further behind.

  • by jbernardo ( 1014507 ) on Monday April 30, 2012 @11:39AM (#39845777)
    Strange, no mention that probably the main reason MSFT is paying $300M to B&N is to buy their way out of the "android patent extortion" law suite that B&N seemed close to winning. And probably B&N will also stop asking the DOJ to investigate the patent extortion and MSFT will keep extorting money from android device manufacturers in exchange of not taking them to court...
    • Doh, should have read the TFA more carefully. The final line in particular... :(
    • by sjwest ( 948274 )

      Groklaw's view is the one i am waiting to read. Lets hope b&n's management are a lot more smarter than Novell management where when dealing with Microsoft.

      • Smart management. If they were smart they couldn't become managers. The world is being nibbled to death by stupid PHCs (Pointy haried CxO) pronounced fuk, apologies to Scott Adams for vulgarising his acronym)
  • Roughly a year ago B&N was fighting MS on android licensing fees [techcrunch.com], now MS is investing in them?
    • Roughly a year ago B&N was fighting MS on android licensing fees, now MS is investing in them?

      MS is buying a 17.6% stake in the exact piece of B&N that it was suing (the Android-based reader/tablet business.)

      Given that B&N's strategy to counter the MS "pay us to use Android" lawsuit was to challenge the validity of the Microsoft patents that were used in the lawsuit, it looks a lot like a $300 million payment from MS to B&N to stop challenging MS's patents, in order that the patents won't be

      • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

        Would it be possible for owners of HTC, LG, etc phones to band together and file a class action suit against Microsoft for indirectly forcing them to pay bogus patent royalties? I doubt it, but it would be nice if somebody that can't be bought off were to challenge this shit.

  • Regardless of why this agreement came about it is a good sign that B&N is filling the Textbook gap on the Nook. Currently their eTextbooks only work on the PC or Mac. They don't work on the Nook at all. So more money getting that fixed is a smart move.
  • I got the Nook e-reader over the Kindle due to the wider range of format support and B&N making the device rather open to me putting books I have from other stores on the device if I so choose. The ability to root and put some nicer designed apps onto the thing due to the Android OS was a very nice bonus, but not my main reason for buying.

    The OS change won't bother me from an "I like android" point of view so long as it works well. I am not liking the idea of monochrome live-tiles on the e-ink display,

    • Err... ok, upon further reading, I misread the BBC article. A USA Today article states that the devices will most likely still run android and that B&N will make a nook e-reader Metro application to run on Windows 8, that will probably be default installed and have a high placement on the application list. There is nothing about running the Windows 8 ARM version on future Nook devices. My mistake!
      • by DavidTC ( 10147 )

        Yeah, I made the same mistake when reading. I was worried at first because I love my Nook STR and plan to keep buying them.

        I especially love the fact I rooted mine so I can send books to it over the air, which was almost trivial.

        1) Get Dropbox, install on desktop, and tell Calibre to open a directory in your dropbox as a 'device' so you can send books to it (You can make this happen at Calibre startup under advanced config)
        2) Install DropSync or some other real Dropbox sync on the Nook, instead of the stu

  • The BBC headline sounds more entertaining if you read it aloud.
  • So Microsoft claims they're going to work to help a Linux/Android based tablet? Does anybody believe this or is it April 1st again?

    Does anyone remember how Microsoft claimed they were working to help the OLPC group and was working with them on getting Windows XP running on the XO? They put 1 or 2 people on the job( seriously, they'd assigned 12 people just to one article author in the past ) and it got nowhere but to screw up the focus of the project and create lots of unrest within the org.

    Microsoft does
    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      Never mind, a 2nd story clarified that it's about a Windows 8 application for Windows 8 PCs and not putting Windows 8 on the Nook.

      In short, Microsoft paid B&N $300 milllion to drop the case Microsoft filed against them and agree to a license scheme which will end up putting Microsoft's DRM patented software on every Nook and Nook application. Probably give Microsoft exact numbers of Nook tablet units shipped and also get Microsoft access to college ebooks and other B&N ebook systems. You know, a ene
  • Zune, Nokia, now the death of Barnes & Noble. It's a shame. We liked the Nook.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      Summary is misleading. It suggests the Nook devices will somehow relate to windows. However, the only concrete thing thusfar is that B&N will bother to make an app for windows phone and windows tablets whereas before they weren't going to bother. MS basically paid 300 million dollars to have their platform not be excluded from the nook market share. Basically, MS sees a chicken and egg problem (no users without apps, no app support without users) by throwing money at software vendors.

      The timing is i

  • So the only way for microsoft to get its OS onto tablets and phones is to sue manufacturers into a "deal" and when they refuse and fight back then just pay them a lot of money to use Windows instead of a competitors O/S. Guess I won't be recommending any Windows nook to anyone when that comes out.
  • I am a Mac/Linux user and I'm pretty darn happy with Nook's Android OS right now. I am guessing that the future Nooks are going to run some bastardized version of Windows? That would be my guess since it's "integrating with Windows 8". If so this is my last Nook.
    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      and you'll probably have to add another pound of weight onto that of the current Nook once they try and slap Windows 8 into the device. That and MS will have to heavily subsidize it to keep the price from adding another $100/ea due to the extra hardware required by the Windows overhead.

      Have you seen _any_ tablets the size of the Nook or Kindle running Windows 8? There's a reason.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      turns out it's about the Nook application on Windows 8 based computers and not Windows 8 on Nook hardware with Nook software.

  • I'm done with lock in. I'll wait for the books, buy from DRM free publishers (Hi Baen! Hi TOR!), or read Jane Austin. Meanwhile, piracy. The hardware exists (the Kobo Touch is delightful), and open will win because it's a better f'ing product.

    And yes, I am bitter that I have $100+ in books locked away on a broken Kindle and a broken Nook that I can't legally transfer to the device of my choice. (Learn from my fail: eInk screens require a case with a rigid screen protector. The screen's a creampuff.)

    • Hmm... that seems to fly in the face of my experience with eInk displays. I demonstrated the build quality of both a 1st gen Nook and a Nook SimpleTouch to my coworkers by whipping it across the office and bouncing it off of floors, walls, desks, and even one of my coworkers, without a case. Not a mark on either device after the abuse. That said, my ex did drop a pen off a table, onto her Nook, and it landed tip-down, leaving a nice little pit in the screen, which resulted in a small number of "stuck" pixel
      • It's exactly the stuck pixels via stabbing that destroyed both. Toss it in your bag with your car keys, and it's toast.

        • Well, yeah, like your iPad wouldn't get scratched to all hell in the same situation. Set your bag down wrong and that screen is completely shattered.

          It's not a build quality issue, the devices were mistreated. Period.

    • I'm done with lock in. I'll wait for the books, buy from DRM free publishers (Hi Baen! Hi TOR!), or read Jane Austin. Meanwhile, piracy. The hardware exists (the Kobo Touch is delightful), and open will win because it's a better f'ing product.

      The Nook line (I currently use a Nook Color) of devices has no problem with DRM-free epubs (or PDFs, or a number of other formats) acquired from outside of the Nook store. In fact, that's the main thing I use my Nook Color for. If B&N wants to go DRM-free (or even,

  • It's desperately needed here.
  • void main combineTwoFails(){
  • I still didn't get it from the article -- is it about Nook device or DRM-ed Nook-branded software for Windows (that was not even compatible with Nook device itself last time I checked)?

  • I sense a bubble.

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