THE DEAL: Microsoft provided an infusion of money to help Barnes & Noble compete with top electronic bookseller Amazon. In exchange, Microsoft gets a long-desired foothold in the business of e-books and college textbooks.
HOW IT WILL WORK: Microsoft Corp. is making a $300 million investment. It will take a 17.6 percent stake in a subsidiary being set up for Barnes & Noble's e-book and college textbook businesses.
THE SIGNIFICANCE: The agreement underscores the importance of electronic bookstores as traditional booksellers and technology companies jockey for position in the increasingly competitive market.