In what some may consider an odd move, Microsoft has just announced that it's investing $US300 million into a "strategic partnership" with Barnes & Noble to develop the future of ereading.
It's a huge investment -- thanks to the fact that Microsoft has paid based on a huge valuation -- into a spin-off from a product which, um, basically runs Android.
There is, however, method to Microsoft's move. First off, the deal includes some patents, which could account for the price. What's more convincing, however, is the fact that the cash injection will see a Windows 8 Nook application become available.
So while it is a large investment, this seems to be all about digital distribution: Nook, it seems, is Microsoft's answer to iBooks, and it will give Windows 8 users an alternative to Kindle.
With Barnes & Noble's bold foray into ebooks going strong, it will be interesting to see what such a close tie-in with a desktop and mobile OS can do for the successes of the Nook stable. [Microsoft, Barnes & Noble]