Originally Posted by WillysJeepMan
It could've been the result of losing a bet at a dinner party.
It would be less embarrassing than Ballmer having to do the monkey dance again.
Thing is, Microsoft has been known to make investments in all sorts of busineses that they don't have any interest in buying. Often when they partner with them. They do have $50 billion burning holes in their pockets...
One time they settled a lawsuit over vibration in gaming controllers by buying a chunk of the company. In the end, Sony ended up paying more than MS and MS got some Sony money.
In this case, B&N *owed* MS a chunk of money from the patent suit settlement and since they had little cash to pay with, an investment was a way for MS to get their pound of flesh without crippling B&N. And they did need a source of ebooks for the WinTabs...
But it doesn't mean they'd want the whole kit that comes with the ebookstore. They might decide to go with Kobo, instead.
Or, for all we know, they're just buying time until they can set up their own ebookstore.