With Apple’s ubiquitous iPad popping up all over the place, it’s easy to forget about competing tablets and e-readers, but now that Microsoft is jumping into the market with a $300 million investment in Barnes & Noble’s e-book business, consumers may pay more attention to the Windows-supported Nook in the near future.
After the bookseller announced plans to spin off its Nook division in January, Microsoft has now claimed a 17.6 percent share in the digital device. The $149 color Nook has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal year for Barnes & Noble, with Nook sales reportedly increasing 43 percent last year.
Despite its growth, the Nook has still struggled to keep up with Amazon.com’s Kindle as well as with competition served by tablet computers like Apple’s iPad.
Will Microsoft’s involvement discourage loyal Nook fans from using the device or will the Windows software maker elevate Barnes & Noble’s e-reader to top-selling status? Also, Microsoft’s new Nook application for Windows 8 will allow consumers to read digital publications without the Nook, but won’t this hurt Nook sales?
Rafe Needleman, Editor at large, Cnet.com