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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MSN Makes Barnes & Noble Sole Bookseller on Its Network




NEW YORK -- In a deal that may prove damaging to the Internet's largest bookseller, Amazon.com, Microsoft Corp. and Barnes & Noble Inc. have said they will weave together their online products and services.


The multimillion-dollar marketing arrangement makes Barnes & Noble the exclusive bookseller on Microsoft's popular MSN network.


Barnes & Noble, the United States' biggest bookseller, has been struggling to catch up to Amazon after a slow start in the online market. And Microsoft has been revamping its MSN site to make Internet purchasing more appealing to consumers.


Under the agreement, Amazon advertisements that link browsers to its online store will still appear on the Microsoft site. But visitors who click on the book category on the Microsoft shopping page will automatically be linked to the Barnes & Noble site.


Other types of shopping will also be integrated. For example, users of Microsoft's travel site, Expedia, will be told of books they might want to buy based on the information they request about plane tickets and hotels.


Analysts said joining forces with a powerful partner like Microsoft would probably help Barnes & Noble gain market share in the rapidly expanding business of selling books on the Internet. But at what cost - and to what degree the deal would hurt Amazon - is unclear.


According to Net Ratings, a Milpitas, California, firm that tracks World Wide Web traffic, the MSN site attracted approximately 9 million visitors in October, ranking fourth after popular "portal" sites like America Online, Yahoo and Netscape, where many web users go to begin their searches.