In what some may consider an odd move, Microsoft has just announced that it's investing $300 million into a "strategic partnership" with Barnes & Noble to develop the future of e-reading.
It's a huge investment—thanks to the fact that Microsoft has paid based on a huge valuation—into a spin-off from a product which, um, basically runs Android.
There is, however, method to Microsoft's move. First off, the deal includes some patents, which could account for the price. What's more convincing, however, is the fact that the cash injection will see a Windows 8 Nook application become available.
So while, yes, it is a large investment, this seems to be all about digital distribution: Nook, it seems, is Microsoft's answer to iBooks, and gives Windows 8 users an alternative to Kindle.
With Barnes & Noble's bold foray into e-books going strong, it will be interesting to see what such a close tie-in with a desktop and mobile OS can do for the successes of the Nook stable. [Microsoft, Barnes & Noble]