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Today in Connected Consumer

There is lots of chatter and speculation around today over Microsoft’s $300 million investment in Barnes & Noble’s new Nook spinoff. BusinessWeek calls it a “marriage of necessity,” in which each side gets something it desperately needs: cash and global scale on the part of B&N, and a toe-hold in the e-reader/tablet hardware market for Microsoft. CNET calls it “a gamble,” and The Street says hold the champagne. One wrinkle in the deal that has gotten comparatively little attention, though, is the inclusion of B&N’s college bookstore division. As B&N noted in its press release, that division includes Nook Study, a pilot education technology platform that provides discounted e-textbooks, library features, note taking and sharing, assignment filing and other features, which are integrated with the Nook hardware. Assuming Microsoft transitions Nook from Android to Windows 8, and puts its resources and engineering muscle behind developing the Nook Study platform, the deal could go a long way toward helping Microsoft insinuate Windows into the college and educational market, where Apple is currently dominant.