Skype competitor purchased by Japanese e-commerce giant
Japanese retailer Rakuten has acquired Cyprus-based VoIP and messaging service Viber. The purchase, worth a total of $900 million, will see the Japanese Internet giant take control of Skype's biggest competitor, with the company claiming the purchase of Viber "perfectly complements Rakuten's strategy in the digital space" in its bid to become the "world's No.1 Internet services company."
Kobo Vox spreads to Best Buy stores
Kobo made an important leap forward for itself Wednesday after it landed a deal for the Vox e-reader tablet to reach US Best Buy stores. The Android slate should be in stores now for the same $199 asked elsewhere. All four colors should be available on the Vox, which ships preloaded with both Kobo's own book app as well as PressReader newspapers, Zinio magazines, Merriam-Webster's Dictonary, and major apps like Rdio's music streaming, Facebook, and Twitter.
Kobo tries to spur new readers through free books
Kobo is trying a unique strategy to lure readers away from Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble by promising regular free e-books. Anyone who buys a Kobo Touch and first uses it on or before March 31 gets a free e-book each month. The publishers include Harvard Business Review Press, e-Reads, F+W Media, Gooseberry Patch, and New Word City, as well as four independent authors.
Rakuten buyout puts Kobo in Japanese hands
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten said late Tuesday that it was buying Kobo for $315 million in cash. The deal gives it access to both an e-bookstore and e-reader devices, including traditional devices like the Wireless eReader and Android tablets like the Kobo Vox. Rakuten explained it as a push to expand its ecosystem outside of Japan through a media store, where books would just be the start.
Panasonic, Sony part of e-book alliance
Panasonic and Sony, as well as online shop operator Rakuten, agreed on Monday to work together on interoperable e-books. The step would see a joint system that would let e-books work across their devices as well as share a common platform for their stores. As portrayed by Nikkei, the common service would help keep track of e-book collections and have a web storefront.