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Barnes & Noble and Microsoft settle Android patent fight

updated 07:50 am EDT, Mon April 30, 2012

Barnes and Noble gets investment, truce

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft on Monday settled an Android patent dispute through a union. An e-reading partnership, Newco, will see Microsoft take a $300 million, or 17.6 percent, stake in a project that should merge Barnes & Noble's Nook business and its college division. In return for the funding, Barnes & Noble will make a Nook app for Windows 8 to help foster textbooks on future Microsoft-powered tablets.

The same deal explicitly ends any legal action between the two sides. Barnes & Noble and the Newco partnership will still owe royalties for the Android-based Nook lineup. Terms for the royalties weren't given out, although Barnes & Noble will likely have been eager to stop some of the more stringent conditions Microsoft had originally wanted, such as blocking future Nook features and, allegedly, asking between $15 to $30 for every Nook sold.

The company added that its exploration of a possible split between digital and paper businesses was still in effect and that it might have to break Newco off as a separate project. No guarantees existed that such a move would even be necessary, Barnes & Noble said.

It's unclear what prompted the settlement. Barnes & Noble has regularly objected to the terms that Microsoft had originally demanded and which ultimately led to Microsoft suing Barnes & Noble. With no actual alternative to Android for an e-book reader from Microsoft, Barnes & Noble would have had to either pay the full royalty Microsoft levies against companies that don't use its software or else write its own, completely original software to avoid patent costs for either Android or its Linux foundations.

Microsoft, in turn, faces a climate where the iPad may dominate tablet textbooks, at least at the high end. The Redmond-based company is likely eager to get at least one major content partnership that would let companies offer Windows 8-based tablets to classrooms.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. SwissMac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006

    +7

    Newco? That's imaginative...

    Well, there's Microsoft showing us how creative it is again, coming up with the name "Newco" in alliance with Barnes and Noble. A better name might have been CopyCats, after all, when did MS do anything that wasn't a copy of something someone else did first?

  1. Eldernorm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007

    +6

    Scares me away

    This so scares me away from both Android and Microsoft. Microsoft sues B&N for using Android, which was released thru Google (why is not Microsoft suing them??) and Microsoft gets a royalty for B&N using someone else's software...

    Is Microsoft support Android? Does Microsoft own Android?? They just use their "I'm Bigger and can bully you!" tactics to make money and control the market. Yep, that is why I want to use their product. Cause I want to be charged and controlled.

    Scary. Just Scary

  1. Flyingjoe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010

    +2

    Microsoft has a vision, maybe?

    I admit that I've enjoyed Microsoft's many missteps at the hands of their blustery leader (like building those Microsoft superstores next to Apple Stores), but I also have to admit that their new phone and tablet OS, and now this entry into schoolbooks looks like they have a bigger gameplan in motion that isn't a direct copy of others but rather an alternate approach into markets. Maybe they can make the transition to the new paradigms quickly coming at us after all. I really had not thought that they could.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -3

    Re: Scares me away

    This so scares me away from both Android and Microsoft.

    Right, it was this action, not the fact it just isn't an Apple product. I'm sure you were just going to go out and buy some Android and Microsoft products, but now you're scared. Um, scared of what?

    Microsoft sues B&N for using Android, which was released thru Google (why is not Microsoft suing them??) and Microsoft gets a royalty for B&N using someone else's software...

    B&N is using their own variation/UI of Android. And it depends on the patent(s) being violated. You know, Google may not violate it.

    Is Microsoft support Android? Does Microsoft own Android??

    No and no.

    They just use their "I'm Bigger and can bully you!" tactics to make money and control the market. Yep, that is why I want to use their product. Cause I want to be charged and controlled.

    I'm sorry, isn't that the entire philosophy of the iOS? Apple goes around trying to bully people or buy up technology to build into their products. Charge and controlled. Apple ecosystem. Controlling the market. All sounds like Apple to me.

    Scary. Just Scary

    Yeah, the scary part is how you somehow go from 'patent litigation' to 'control the market' with MS, but don't go there with Apple's litigations.

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