The tablet wars, which you have to admit are terribly one sided these days, just got a tad more interesting. Earlier today, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble announced a new partnership in the form of a new Barns & Noble subsidiary that will focus on delivering “world class digital reading experiences” for users.
Clearly, Microsoft has its eyes set on Amazon, and to a lesser extent the iPad, and will invest $300 million in the new subsidiary.
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.
First up on the docket, according to the press release, will be a NOOK app for WIndows 8 that will give users access to B&N’s entire digital bookstore.
“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,”Microsoft President Andy Lees explained in the press release. “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.”