Recent layoffs may signal the end of the Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablet division – but the company denies it
Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablet may not be long for this world following a report that the company may be planning to pull the device from sale soon.
A source from inside Barnes & Noble told Business Insider that the company eliminated its entire Nook hardware team last week. This claim was denied by the company, although it did confirm that some of its employees had recently been laid off.
“We’ve been very clear about our focus on rationalising the Nook business and positioning it for future success and value creation,” a spokesperson said. “As we’ve aligned Nook’s cost structure with business realities, staffing levels in certain areas of our organisation have changed, leading to some job eliminations. We’re not going to comment specifically on those eliminations.”
Caught in a corner
Last month, Barnes & Noble revealed that several key Nook executives would be leaving the company, signalling trouble at the division.
The company said that Jim Hilt, who was vice president and general manager for global ebooks (essentially running the company’s ebook sales business) would be leaving in February, whilst its vice president of hardware, Bill Saperstein, has already left.
A spokesperson said Barnes & Noble remains committed to the Nook group despite these departures, “We believe we have a strong management team in place at Nook, having recruited significant new talent. The new Nook management team is focused on managing the business efficiently so that it becomes financially strong while at the same time aggressively moving to drive revenue growth.”
Originally released in May 2011 as a grayscale e-reader, later generations of the Nook aimed to compete with popular tablet devices such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7, featuring a tweaked version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich but with Barnes & Noble’s own store installed.
Nook was apparently a target for Microsoft later last year, with the computing giant apparently willing to pay $1 billion for the business as it looked to enter a lucrative market. Barnes & Noble had established a joint venture between the two companies in 2012 with the establishing of Nook Media. At the time, Microsoft invested $300 million (£194m) for a 17.6 percent stake in the joint venture, which was valued at $1.7 billion, a deal which also ended litigation related to Microsoft’s Android-related patents.
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