Product Reviews
Take Action

Fight for Fair Finance

Tell the administration and Congress to stand up for the consumer watchdog that protects you from financial fraud and abuse.
Take Action
Why Do We Have Campaigns?
We're fighting to ensure you and your family can get a fair deal in the marketplace, especially on the choices that matter most: health care, privacy, automobiles, food, finances and more. Join our campaigns and together, we'll hold corporations and lawmakers accountable.

Microsoft-Barnes & Noble deal could be a benefit to consumers

Consumer Reports News: April 30, 2012 11:08 AM

Find Ratings

Barnes & Noble announced today that it would split off its digital-book business and give Microsoft a 17.6-percent stake in the new unit, resulting in a $300 million investment by the computing giant. This announcement could be good news for consumers, since it may help the bookseller in competing with Amazon in e-book readers and the content and services sold for them.

The new funds, say analysts, should bolster B&N in its pitched battle for market share in e-books with Amazon—and that cutthroat competition has been excellent for buyers of e-books and e-book devices over the past few years. Since B&N launched its first Nook e-book reader in 2009, prices for Nooks and Amazon Kindles have dropped from around $300 or so in 2009 to $100 or less for some models.

The companies have also competed over the weight of their devices and over innovative new features, such as the GlowLight screen that B&N recently added to its Nook Simple Touch. That's resulted in generally close rankings between the two companies' devices, which tend to dominate the top of our Ratings of e-book readers (available to subscribers).

The Microsoft stake comes at an important time for B&N. With some publishers settling federal antitrust lawsuit over price-fixing, Amazon has begun to reduce the prices of some of its e-book titles, a move that analysts say may put pressure on B&N to follow suit.

And where Amazon sells a host of other goods and services to its customers, which can help offset possible losses on e-books, B&N basically sells only books—so it's more vulnerable to a drop in prices for their digital editions.

Microsoft to Invest in Barnes & Noble's Nook [Wall Street Journal]
U.S. Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple, Hachette [Bloomberg]

Paul Reynolds

Find Ratings

E-Book Readers Ratings

View and compare all E-Book Readers ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Electronics News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more