Barnes & Noble teams up with Microsoft on Nook

William Lynch, President of Barnes and Noble.com presents the new 'nook' digital reading device on October 20, 2009 in New York City.

Jeremy Hobson: Now let me tell you why Barnes & Noble stock is up 76 percent this morning. We found out this morning that Microsoft is investing $300 million in Barnes & Noble's digital book business.

As Marketplace's Heidi Moore reports, the two companies are teaming up as they struggle to compete with the Kindle and the iPad.


Heidi Moore: Microsoft is mortal enemies with Apple and Amazon, and it's hard to see your enemies win. Amazon introduced the Kindle five years ago, and people have been reading books on their iPads for two years. Now Microsoft decided it wants to get in on the action by investing in Barnes & Noble's Nook.

Roger Kay: It's basically an accelerator for Microsoft to get into the book business.

Roger Kay is with Endpoint Technology Associates.

Kay: Barnes & Noble was arguably the only partner left for Microsoft here.

But the two companies are frenemies, to say the least. A few months ago, Microsoft was suing Barnes & Noble as part of the epic battle between the Windows and Android operating systems. Call it bygones.

Kay: It's sort of like, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The spat between Microsoft and Google is less important in this case than the spat between Microsoft and Apple and Amazon.

A big benefit of the deal is that it gives Microsoft an entry into the business of college textbooks, which can retail for more than $100 a piece. In its deal to invest in the Nook, Microsoft is hoping that strange bedfellows will translate into clear profits.

In New York, I'm Heidi Moore for Marketplace.

About the author

Heidi N. Moore is The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor. She was formerly the New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace.

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