Microsoft Provides an Audible Boost

Audible, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBL) jumped 135 percent Friday morning after the company said that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) would invest US$10 million in the company to help it develop its online audio technology.

In midmorning trading, Audible was up $1.19 at $2.06.

Audible, based in Wayne, New Jersey, said Microsoft is building on a 1999 investment. Audible said that the new funding will enable it to extend its spoken-audio content and technology to new audiences, including wireless customers, using Microsoft platforms such as WindowsMedia.

The companies will also co-market Audible’s audio services to consumers and corporate customers.

“Audible has a tremendous library of spoken-word content and valuable technology, and Microsoft believes in the long-term strength of its business,” said Dick Brass, vice president of technology development at Microsoft.

“Spoken-word content is a key growth area for the development of digital media commerce, and we share Audible’s vision of a future in which the information and entertainment economy is fundamentally based on digital delivery,” Brass said.

Audible provides audio services for content download or playback on personal computers or mobile devices. The company has more than 28,000 hours of audio programs and 160 content partners, ranging from audiobook publishers to broadcasters, and magazine and newspaper publishers.

Audible is also the exclusive provider of spoken-word products for Amazon.com, through a deal that gave Amazon a 5 percent stake in the company, and has a joint venture with Random House, Inc. to sell digitally produced audio books. That agreement also gave Random House a stake in Audible.

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