Microsoft Eyes E-Readers With £647m Nook Buy – Report

Microsoft is reportedly seeking to acquire Nook Media’s ebook business, in a move that may well see Android-based Nook tablets being replaced with Windows 8-based machines.

TechCrunch revealed that Microsoft is preparing to snap up Nook Media LLC for $1 billion (£647m), after it claimed to have obtained internal documentation.

Joint Venture

It claims that Redmond plans to acquire the digital assets of the joint venture between itself and Barnes & Noble. The companies established Nook Media in 2012, a deal that also brought to a close litigation related to Microsoft’s Android-related patents.

On 4 October, 2012, Microsoft announced that it completed the formation of Nook Media, a business comprised of Barnes & Noble’s Digital and College businesses. The software giant invested $300 million (£194m) for a 17.6 percent stake in the joint venture, which was valued at $1.7 billion.

At the time, Microsoft president Andy Lees said that the deal would bring ebooks to devices powered by his company’s soon-to-be-released Windows 8 operating system. “Nook Media is a leader in developing the next generation of digital reading and we look forward to the company bringing one of the world’s largest digital libraries to Windows 8 devices via their upcoming Windows 8 app.”

Now, Microsoft appears poised to take over the reins and venture deeper into the mobile ebook market.

“In this plan, Microsoft would redeem preferred units in Nook Media, which also includes a college book division, leaving it with the digital operation – ebooks, as well as Nook e-readers and tablets,” wrote TechCrunch’s Eric Eldon and Ingrid Lunden.

Android Termination

The documents also reveal that after fiscal year 2014, Nook Media is ending its Android-based line of tablets. Instead, the company will release content to “third-party partner” tablets via apps. Those tablets – it’s unspecified whether they are Windows 8-based or if they include other platforms – are slated to appear in 2014.

The strategy echoes Amazon’s approach to ebook sales. Although it offers its own, Amazon-branded dedicated e-readers and Android-based tablets that feature deep integration with the Kindle ecosystem, the company also makes available a Kindle app for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android mobile operating systems. Like Nook, the company also released a Windows 8 app.

The move could spell the end of Barnes & Noble’s 7-inch Nook HD and the 9-inch Nook HD+ tablets. Apart from the lack of cameras, the thin and lightweight devices emerged as competitive, media-consumption-focused alternatives to popular tablets like the Android-powered Nexus 7 and Apple’s iPad. Late last week, on 5 May, Barnes & Noble added support for Google Play, allowing owners of Nook HD tablets to access the marketplace’s 700,000 apps and millions of songs.

Nook Media’s e-paper based readers are safe for the time being, but their days are numbered. The device category’s “gradual, natural decline” was referenced by the report.

When asked for a comment, a Microsoft spokesperson informed eWEEK that “we have nothing to share as Microsoft does not comment on rumours or speculation.”

What do you know about tablets? Find out with our quiz!

Originally published on eWeek.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez covers Microsoft products and services, such as Office, Windows, Windows Phone, Azure and Skype.

Recent Posts

Norway Hit By DDoS Cyber Attacks From Pro Russian Group

Norwegian national security agency warns pro-Russian group has targetted private and public institutions in Norway…

1 hour ago

Google Tells Staff They Can Relocate After Roe v Wade Ending

After US Supreme Court last week removed women's reproduction rights, Google tells staff they can…

2 hours ago

Taiwan Developing Own Digital Currency – Report

Central bank of Taiwan confirms it is still working on its digital currency, but has…

4 hours ago

Tesla Cuts 200 Autopilot Jobs, Closes San Mateo Office – Report

More restructuring at Tesla with hundreds of bob losses and California office closure, where staff…

5 hours ago

US FCC Commissioner Urges Apple, Google To Remove TikTok

Fresh worry for TikTok, after FCC Commissioner writes to Apple and Google about removing the…

6 hours ago

Airbnb Permanently Bans Parties, With Few Exceptions

Victory for irate neighbours? Airbnb confirms its temporary Covid ban on parties in its listings…

7 hours ago