This week I think the major story is the developments in the eBook/eReader market. Amazon, Microsoft, Barnes & Noble, Target, and possibly Apple all made strategic moves this week.
I’m not sure at the moment what the overarching story is, but lets run through the weeks two big developments. As more becomes clear, I plan of following up on this with a longer post.
1.) Microsoft invests in Nook. Expect to see a Nook app bundled with upcoming Windows 8 tablets. Also, this week, the Nook app becomes the top book app in the Apple App Store.
Microsoft announced on Monday that it would invest $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division for a 17.6 percent stake. The deal values the e-reader business at $1.7 billion.
2.) Target pulls Amazon Kindle from its shelves. Maybe to appease Apple as the company increases its in-store retail presence at Targets and Walmarts, maybe due to anger over Amazon’s price cutting, or maybe just because sales of Kindles may be tanking.
Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad don’t compete directly with each other. The Kindle is much cheaper, for one thing. But they do compete in terms of e-books, and that has become a flash point in recent weeks. The Department of Justice announced last month that it had filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and six publishers, accusing them of colluding on pricing. Apple denied the accusation and said the launch in 2010 of the iBookstore was aimed at breaking Amazon’s “monopolistic grip” on the e-book market.
Meanwhile, Target can’t be too pleased with Amazon’s rather brazen policy of undercutting the prices of traditional retailers. Though the Kindle was Target’s top-selling e-reader on Black Friday last year, the retailer clearly believes that if it must choose, Apple is the choice to make.
Also, I’m reading Game of Thrones book five, A Dance with Dragons, and it is excellent. Nothing to analyze there, its just a great book.