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Barnes & Noble will own about 82.4 percent of Newco while Microsoft will receive a 17.6 percent stake in the new subsidiary

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble Inc. have joined forces to create Newco, which is a new subsidiary that aims to enhance e-book offerings via both companies' digital technologies.

Newco, a Barnes & Noble subsidiary, will incorporate the company's NOOK digital e-reader software with Microsoft's upcoming operating system Windows 8 in order to accelerate both companies' positions in the e-book industry.

Microsoft plans to invest $300 million into Newco at a post-money valuation of $1.7 billion. Barnes & Noble will own about 82.4 percent of Newco while Microsoft will receive a 17.6 percent stake in the new subsidiary.

There are two main goals associated with the Newco venture: to add a NOOK application to upcoming Windows 8 mobile devices, and to bring Barnes & Noble's digital and College businesses together in an effort to offer both students and teachers educational books and tools.

“The formation of Newco and our relationship with Microsoft are important parts of our strategy to capitalize on the rapid growth of the NOOK business, and to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital content in the consumer and education segments,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “Microsoft’s investment in Newco, and our exciting collaboration to bring world-class digital reading technologies and content to the Windows platform and its hundreds of millions of users, will allow us to significantly expand the business.”

Both Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have certain benefits in mind that could come from the partnership. Barnes & Noble wants to extend its NOOK offerings through different devices and platforms in the way of recreational and educational e-books, and Microsoft wants an e-reader application available for its Windows 8 devices when they hit the market.

Microsoft is expected to release a customer preview of its Windows 8 operating system this June.

“The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries and newsstands in the palm of every person’s hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content,” said Andy Lees, President at Microsoft. “Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We’re at the cusp of a revolution in reading.”

Barnes & Noble's partnership with Microsoft is likely aimed to compete with the likes of Apple's iBooks, iBooks 2 and iBooks Author. Its iBooks 2 and iBooks Author launched in January, offering educational textbooks and tools for both educators and students. In the first three days of launch, the iBooks 2 and iBooks Author apps hit 440,000 downloads combined.

Sources: Barnes & Noble , Microsoft

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Good: Now Put Windows 8 On the Nook Tablet
By Arsynic on 4/30/2012 4:07:11 PM , Rating: 3
My Nook Color has been collecting dust in favor of the original iPad due to it's clunky software, limited features and ironically, poor reader performance. Try reading a book of any significant size and the Nook either crawls when skipping pages or just crashes.

Windows 8: RT would be a good candidate for a new Nook Tablet.

RE: Good: Now Put Windows 8 On the Nook Tablet
By nikon133 on 4/30/2012 4:56:30 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't have problem with my Nook Colour while it was working... my only complaint was lack of any page turning animation. but it died in 6 months. Quite a few times page wouldn't turn on tapping right edge of the screen, and I would happily start reading same page again.

That being said, I still preferred it to iPad or Transformer, device size was much more (book) reading friendly for me. Though Transformer's 1280 pixels make it really nice for comics.

But then, I'm still finding eInk readers so much nicer for text books than any of above mentioned tablets.

By Alexvrb on 5/1/2012 7:16:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah eInk is definitely superior for a dedicated e-reader. I'm hoping a future iteration of a display technology like Pixel Qi (or that other one I can't remember the name of) will successfully (and commercially!) combine the best traits of LCDs and eInk displays.

RE: Good: Now Put Windows 8 On the Nook Tablet
By erodth83 on 4/30/2012 6:56:58 PM , Rating: 4
If it really is collecting dust in the corner, I think it's time you bought a uSD card and ran Android gingerbread on it like probably 80% of the nook color owners. Works great and you have a full fledged 7" tablet then.

By Alexvrb on 5/1/2012 7:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
I've heard that the Nook for Android reader software performs better on the same Nook Color than the stock software. So yeah, that would have been a smart move.

It still doesn't have the fastest hardware, but it's kind of unfair to compare it to more expensive hardware.

By PitViper007 on 5/2/2012 2:57:43 PM , Rating: 2
If it really is collecting dust in the corner, I think it's time you bought a uSD card and ran Android gingerbread on it like probably 80% of the nook color owners.

Which is exactly what I've done and haven't looked back. Love my Nook Color since I've started using my N2A card. I haven't booted it into the standard Nook OS since then.

By Syran on 5/1/2012 2:20:17 PM , Rating: 1
Pretty funny that MS would be supporting something running on the android OS.

By theapparition on 5/2/2012 3:25:52 PM , Rating: 3
Or possibly the next generations will run on Win 8? Ever consider that?

Details needed
By bug77 on 4/30/2012 5:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
So this was all about getting a B&N app on Win8? Somehow I doubt it.
I'd buy into a 10" touch ereader if they ever come up with something like that, but this seems to be just about software.

Whatever it takes to keep the patents
By ET on 5/1/2012 5:48:21 AM , Rating: 2
My guess is that one reason Microsoft thought of this deal is that it didn't want to take a chance of any ruling against its patents in the trial.

By jeh105 on 5/1/2012 1:42:43 PM , Rating: 2
Why not Nõõko?

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