Barnes & Noble & Microsoft
People are asking if I have any thoughts about the just-announced partnership between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft in the eReader market. My major immediate thought about it is: Oh, good, a robustly-funded competitor for Amazon in the eReader market. That makes for three major eReader portals/ecosystems (the other being Apple; there are four if you count Google, but I don’t think they’ve quite got their act together yet). This offers choice for consumers and a little breathing space for the publishing industry that’s still freaking out about the idea of an Amazon eBook monopsony.
On the monopsony score I would still very much like to see a better way for independent booksellers to be able to enter the eBook market, because whether we’re talking Amazon, B&N/MS, Google or Apple, we’re talking huge companies carving up an emerging market and effectively shutting out retailers that aren’t on the Dow Jones. But that’s really another matter entirely. For now: Yay, more competition. Let’s see how it works from here.