Barnes & Noble/Microsoft deal settles patent dispute
A deal has been announced between Microsoft and Barnes & Noble which sees the companies form a strategic partnership around a new company, "Newco", specialising in digital college text books. The deal brings an end to the Android-related patent dispute between the two companies. The new joint venture will see Microsoft pay $300 million to take a 17.6% stake of the business, valued at $1.7 billion, while Barnes & Noble's share will be 82.4%; the business is based around the bookseller's education division. Barnes & Noble will produce a NOOK application for Windows 8 while "Newco" will extend the reach of Barnes & Noble's NOOK Study software.
The deal also ends the year-old patent dispute in which Microsoft sued Barnes & Noble over its Android-based NOOK tablet. Late last year Barnes & Noble called on the US Department of Justice to investigate Microsoft's demands for royalties and patent-related behaviour. Now though, that litigation is over and, according to the announcement, both Barnes & Noble and "Newco" will have "a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products". It is unclear what the settlement means for Barnes & Noble's co-defendants, Foxconn and Inventec; the lawsuit is one of the very few concerning devices which run the open source Android operating system that had been heading to trial.