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Industry News: B&N Teams Up with Microsoft, Target Dumps Kindle, Google Books Suit Revives

May 5, 2012

B&N Teams up with Microsoft

When faced with a challenge of Amazonian dimensions, a smart company seeks innovation, results, and maybe most important, friends. Barnes and Noble has announced a partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ: M$FT) aimed at strengthen both companies’ digital reading technology. The joint venture, currently called Newco, will result in the long-rumored spin-off of B&N’s digital and textbook lines, with a $300 million investment in the company. B&N will own 82.4% of the resulting company, which will have a relationship with the chain’s stores. B&N and Microsoft have also settled their patent disputes as part of the new arrangement. The first joint venture for the new company will be the development of a Nook application for the Windows 8 operating system. Let’s see how Amazon and Apple respond.

Target Dumps Kindle, So Do Others

It’s rare for Amazon to have a bad week, but not impossible. This week proves the point. On the heels of the announcement that Target was phasing out its Kindle sales, Kindle Fire’s market share dove 4% in the first quarter of 2012, dropping it from number 2 in the tablet market to number 3 (behind Samsung). Market share dropped to 13% while Apple’s market share for its iPad tablets climbed to 68%. Earlier this week, Target announced it would stop selling Kindles in its stores, as it sets up Apple mini stores, that will include iPad offerings.

Google asks Judge to dismiss Authors Guild from Library Suit

When last we left Judge Denny Chin, Google, the Authors Guild, and the lawsuit about how authors are either included or excluded from Google’s library, Judge Chin has more or less told Google that forcing authors to opt out was a non-starter. Google this week asked Judge Chin to drop the Authors Guild and the American Society of Media Photographers from the case, arguing that authors would be better served going it alone because single organizations can’t represent their varied circumstances. A representative for the Authors Guild said that authors should be considered a class in the case because most don’t have the resources to take on a company as large as Google and many don’t even know their books have been digitized. The suit has been ongoing for six years, and Judge Chin dismissed an agreement last year because authors and photographers would be forced to opt out of their work was included in Google’s library, rather opting in if they wanted to be included.

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