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Microsoft’s Nook Investment Could Spell Bad News for Amazon and Kindle

Amazon Competitior Microsoft Nook Tablet

Is it time for the Kindle to move over? A Nook eBook reader is coming and a tablet may arrive sooner or later as well. This elegant device might kill Kindle Fire and Co

$300 million later, Amazon could finally have a competitor on its hands with Barnes & Noble and Microsoft

Microsoft recently announced a $300 million investment into Barnes & Noble, though quickly confirmed there wouldn’t be a Nook Windows 8 tablet and/or e-reader coming (for now). Though despite that, Amazon’s domination of the e-reader market could finally come to an end.

The investment bumped Barnes & Noble’s value up to $1.7 billion, after there had been worries over the company. The two companies also announced, along with the news of the investment, that a Windows 8 Nook app would be coming and will bring the catalogue to the U.S. and international countries.

A new Amazon Kindle is expected two-three years from now, so Microsoft has an opportunity to launch a challenge to Amazon and Apple with the iPad. The company has spoke about bringing an integrated ecosystem across all its devices, from laptops to TV.

Amazon controls 90 percent of the the e-book market, while the iPad is basically the only table that is being bought en masse. The new iPad sold three million units during its first weekend on sale, while the Kindle Fire continues to be the most-requested product across Amazon, so Microsoft has strong competition.

Barnes & Noble controls 25 percent of the e-book market, something Microsoft didn’t really have access to prior to the investment. And with Microsoft’s nationwide and worldwide reach, then that could definitely be expanded. Some analysts have said the deal is motivated by Amazon and Apple’s dominance.

Device integration

As I’ve said before, I think Microsoft is going to make a big push with device integration. While Windows Phone 7 has gained some developer support and the Nokia Lumia 900 has sold around 1 million units in the U.S., it has gained a wide consumer appeal. If Microsoft can find a way to incentivise developers to port Windows 8 Metro apps over the the platform, then I can see the platform really taking off.

The difficulty for anyone who launches a new smartphone platform is gaining users and developers, as both groups can easily go to iOS or Android. Windows 8 won’t have this problem – the install base will be there.

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Published: Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 Last Modified: May 1, 2012

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