PhotoWhen it comes to the growing trend of e-books, electronic juggernauts Apple and Amazon have maintained the lion's share of both the sales and marketing of this newly developed reading style.

Now book retailer Barnes & Noble is trying to level the playing field a bit, partnering with Microsoft to start a new subsidiary built around the Nook, GN's e-reader. The new venture will focus on educational texts for college.

Microsoft will be making a $300 million dollar investment to launch this new venture, which will allow Barnes & Noble to be major players in the e-book world, while at the same time ensuring company longevity, unlike their ex-competitors Borders, who failed to adjust to the changing book climate, and went out of business in 2011.

“Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows Devices,” said Microsoft President Andy Lees in a statement. “We’re on the cusp of a revolution in reading.”  

The investment will give Microsoft a 17.6 percent ownership of the venture, and Barnes & Noble will retain 82.4 percent of the newly formed company.

Microsoft’s large investment will include the creation of a Nook application for Windows 8, that will allow several million Windows customers to take advantage of Barnes & Noble’s online store.  

William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble called Microsoft “ideal partners” in a statement. “Few companies own more screens worldwide than Microsoft”, he explained.  

“Microsoft’s investment 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,” Lynch added.

This new merger is in stark contrast to the previously contentious relationship between Microsoft and Barnes & Noble, as the two companies went through legal disputes over patent infringement involving Nook e-readers in March of 2011. The case was ultimately thrown out in January 2012 by an International Trade Commission (ITC) judge, which created the first steps in these two powerhouse companies joining forces.


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