Monday, April 30, 2012
Gavin O'Malley, April 30, 2012, 11:43 AM
B&N, Microsoft To Take On Apple, AmazonTechCrunch

To gain ground in the great e-reader race, Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have teamed up to take on market leaders Apple and Amazon.

Yet to be named, the partnership will “come in the form of a new subsidiary of B&N that will include all of its Nook business as well as its educational college business,” TechCrunch reports. “Microsoft is making a $300 million investment in the subsidiary, valuing the company at $1.7 billion in exchange for around 17.6%equity in the subsidiary.”

“The alliance comes after the companies openly feuded over the Nook,” writes The Wall Street Journal. “As part of the move, there will be a Nook application included in the new Windows 8, which is scheduled to have a release preview in early June.”

According to Forbes, Barnes & Noble is a company that needs saving, and Microsoft could be just the partner to do it. “Back in 1997, Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple when its back was against the wall,” Forbes recalls. “Today, Microsoft announced it would invest twice that amount in Barnes & Noble.”

“The partnership with Microsoft could give the Nook the kind of content and global expansion to make it a bigger player in the tablet business,” suggests Bloomberg, citing comments from Michael Glickstein, chief investment officer with G Asset Management LLC, a Barnes & Noble investor.

“Microsoft has been working hard to promote its platform (especially since the launch of the Windows phone earlier this year) but there has yet to be a wave of great digital content for it -- specifically e-books,” VatorNews writes.

“Amazon already offers a version of its Kindle reader app for Windows 8,” Computerworld notes. “The new e-book duo also plans to create Nook-based textbooks to compete with a similar platform from Apple announced in January as part of iBooks 2.”

“Unlike Borders, Barnes and Noble has managed to jump across book publishing’s digital divide, created by Amazon’s release of the first-generation Kindle not quite five years ago,”Wired writes. “Clearly, it’s in the digital play that any real growth exists.”

 

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  • Gavin O'Malley, April 30, 2012, 11:50 AM
  • Shopping search site TheFind is gunning for Pinterest with the launch of Glimpse -- a new Facebook shopping discovery app that is built on top of Facebook “like” data. In the absolute simplest terms, the app curates shopping pages for users based on their likes, as well the things their friends like. With Pinterest’s sudden success, some see TheFind’s minor shift is inevitable. “Pinterest’s rise has helped highlight the value of social discovery over traditional search for shopping and the lesson hasn’t been lost on competitors,” GigaOm writes. “While Pinterest has taught people to pin the stuff they like from the Web, Glimpse takes the existing data from Facebook’s open graph and marries it with its database of 500 million products and 500,000 stores.” As TheFind’s CEO Siva Kumar tells GigaOm, TheFind has been working with Facebook for awhile to bridge the two data sets, mapping a user’s likes to products, their taxonomy and a user’s profile. “Now,” as GigaOm explains, “when a Glimpse user likes a page, the service can determine what product the URL is referring to, can pull up the most recent availability and pricing data and also fit it into different styles and trends. ”Facebook users are currently liking about 2.7 billions things a day, while the average user has about seven shopping likes.       Read the whole story...
  • Sweden-startup Wrapp is bringing its social gifting expertise to U.S. consumers, and, in turn, drawing attention to the ecommerce trend. “Last year, the buzzword in e-commerce was Groupon Inc and its myriad of competitors that offered daily online coupons to entice shoppers in a down economy,” Reuters reminds us. “Now, the latest fashion in retail is social gifting, where people get together on Facebook to buy each other gifts.”  According to Wrapp’s CEO Hjalmar Winbladh: "Brick-and-mortar retailers are all looking for new, more efficient ways to drive sales into stores without diluting their brands ... we wanted to really see how retailers can leverage the megatrends of smartphones and social networks." Wrapp’s app, which can run on smartphones, tablets and computers, has already gained traction in Europe. Since mid-November, the company says that more than 165,000 active users have given over 1.4 million gift cards that can be redeemed in some 50 major retail stores. The app let Facebook friends buy each other gift cards from participating retailers -- either individually or as a group -- which they can store on their mobile devices and redeem either online or inside physical stores. As Reuters adds: “Retailers like it because there is little marketing cost and because customers often end up buying more once they are inside the store.”   Read the whole story...
  • Stateside, online food ordering services are experiencing varying degrees of success. Soon, however, they could all face a new threat from Just-Eat -- a fast growing UK-based startup, which just raised $64 million in funding from European private equity firm Vitruvian. Just the latest funding round for Just-Eat, the company’s top priority remains continued expansion into new markets. “Commenting on the deal, Klaus Nyengaard, CEO of Just-Eat, explained that the investment will push the business forward into new countries and help diversify its services,” The Next Web writes. Said Nyengaard: “This new investment will help our continued expansion. Takeaway e-commerce has massive growth potential, and Just-Eat is at the forefront of changing the way people order food around the world.” Additional investors in the company’s third round included Index Ventures, Greylock Partners and Redpoint Ventures participate. As TNW notes, the announcement comes less than a week after Just-Eat acquired rival Fillmybelly.com, the UK’s third-largest online takeaway site -- further illustrating “the site’s aggressive plans to expand.” Just-Eat currently provides its services in 13 countries around the world, offering customers a choice of 20,000 takeaway restaurants via its Web site.   Read the whole story...