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OPLIN 4Cast #281: eReaders as business collateral

Posted in 4cast

In the past 10 days or so, all kinds of interesting things have been happening with big companies and ereaders. You’ve surely heard about Microsoft buying the Nook from Barnes & Noble, which seems to be a punch thrown at either Apple or Amazon (or Google?), depending on your point of view. You may also have seen that Target has decided to play hardball with Amazon over the Kindle. There’s probably much more than meets the eye in these developments, but one thing is certain: when major corporations start tussling over ereaders, it’s a sure sign that ereading is here to stay.

  • Target will yank Kindles–why? (GigaOM/Laura Hazard Owen)  “Target may simply not want to carry a product from a major competitor. After all, this reasoning could go, why should Target serve as a store showroom for Amazon products? Somewhat similarly, Barnes & Noble has refused to carry Amazon Publishing titles in its stores.”
  • B&N and Microsoft: Why it’s not about ebooks (Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog)  “It remains to be seen whether Microsoft can create the same sort of buzz or ROI in their stores that Apple has managed to achieve, but why go to the trouble and expense of creating a larger standalone presence when a store-within-a-store might be even more effective? What if B&N stores added mini Microsoft Stores in each of their locations? The foot traffic is already there and what a great place to showcase and sell that new Windows 8-based nook they’ll undoubtedly create.”
  • Microsoft + Nook: It just got (more) interesting… (Wired/Felix Salmon)  “Barnes & Noble no longer needs to sell Nooks, or persuade people to download the Nook app on their iPad: everybody with a Windows 8 device will have the Nook reader built-in. The e-book market is still young; if Amazon continues to be seen as the enemy, there’s no reason in theory why the Nook shouldn’t become just as popular, if not more so.”
  • Barnes & Noble marries Microsoft (The Future of Publishing/Thad McIlroy)  “Skip to the end of the official announcement and you find out what $300 million really means to Microsoft. Barnes & Noble gave Microsoft something it desperately needed: an agreement to honor (and pay fees on) Microsoft’s key anti-Android patents.”

Windows 8 fact:
A couple of these articles mention Windows 8 devices, which are generally expected to become available in the fourth quarter of this year, just in time for Christmas.