Can Microsoft’s Infusion Give Nook a Chance?

Barnes & Noble Nook HDMicrosoft is investing $300 million in a partnership with Barnes & Noble that will develop digital reading products. The Nook Media venture was first announced in April under the name NewCo.

The partnership, Nook Media LLC, is structured as a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, which sells about 300 million books a year in stores and online, and claims 27 percent of the eBook market. Nook Media will focus on delivering a Windows 8 reading app for Microsoft customers.

Microsoft is known for signing strategic deals with important tech companies, such as the one signed with Facebook some time ago. Now, for “just” $300 million, it’s taken a 17.6 percent equity stake of Nook Media. A small share, yes, but a smart one if the venture really does deliver great products.

For Barnes & Noble, the deal brings some hope to the retailer’s seemingly losing battle against Amazon. The venture’s released a suite of tablets, Nook HD and HD+, that look quite competitive while remaining inexpensive. For those looking for a Microsoft branded e-book reader, unfortunately, there’s nothing to report yet.