Microsoft and Barnes & Noble announced last April 30 that they will make a partnership to boost Nook’s competitive edge against Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iBook. Thus, the e-reader will have a Metro style courtesy of the software giant’s Windows 8 operating system. Other than that, both companies are also planning to create a Nook-based textbook that will compete against Apple’s similar platform.
Also part of the agreement is the royalties that Microsoft will get for every Nook e-readers and tablets sold. Because of the partnership, the software giant will have the opportunity to invest $300 million in an upcoming yet-to-named Barnes & Noble subsidiary. In turn, this will give them a 17.6% equity stake in the upcoming company. However, it is unknown whether the B&N subsidiary is part of the patent settlement of both companies.
The Microsoft-Barnes & Noble Litigation
It was in March 2011 that Microsoft has taken legal action against Barnes & Noble and its Android manufacturing partners. The book retailer’s Nook and Nook Color devices were alleged to infringe patents held by the software giant.
While other Android device manufacturers such as HTC and Amazon have come to an agreement with the Windows 8 creator, Barnes & Noble and its partners disagreed that their devices and its operating system infringed on Microsoft patents. As stated by Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez:
“Unfortunately, after more than a year of discussions, Barnes & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec have so far been unwilling to sign a license, and therefore, we have no other choice but to bring legal action to defend our innovations.”
He also pointed out that the company is not patent trolling. In fact, its patent litigation against the book retailer is only the seventh patent case initiated by Microsoft in its entire 36-year history.
Going Forward with Microsoft
As of the moment, Barnes & Noble relies on a customized version of the Android OS for its products like the Nook Color. However, it’s unclear whether the B&N subsidiary might use Microsoft software as they move forward with the new partnership. There were also no suggestions as to what products the new company might offer in the future, or whether a new Nook app for Windows Phone is in the works.
The book retailer currently offers its Nook reader apps for Android, iOS, Mac, traditional Windows PCs, and e-readers and tablets that feature the Nook Simple Touch, Nook Color and Nook tablet.
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