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Amazon to Face New Rival as Japanese Giant Snaps Up Kobo

It might not be a household name yet, but Japan's home grown version of Amazon, Rakuten, has purchased ebook reader manufacturer Kobo for $315 million, around £200 million.

The acquisition comes shortly after the purchase last month of Play.com and following those of Price Minister and Tradoria from France and Germany respectively.

Ratuken deals in a much broader range of services and products compared to Amazon, including banking, travel, e-commerce, sports and even media.

But an executive for the company told the BBC that it feels an ebook reader will be more than just for selling books.

Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet said "It's about potentially selling other digital goods and it's also about being in consumers' homes with a hardware device".

Rakuten sees Kobo as being more than just an ebook and hints at it being a delivery platform for a number of other services as well, not unlike what Amazon Kindle Fire and Apple iPad tablets are doing.

He also hinted at a price battle which could mean that Rakuten might come out fighting Amazon when it comes to tablet pricing; the Kobo Vox which is out soon is based on Android and also has a 7-inch display like the Kindle Fire and the Nook tablet.

Desire worked at ITProPortal right at the beginning and was instrumental in turning it into the leading publication we all know and love today. He then moved on to be the Editor of TechRadarPro - a position he still holds - and has recently been reunited with ITProPortal since Future Publishing's acquisition of Net Communities.