TechCruch had a story on this yesterday. They have obtained some internal documents discussing the proposed deal, with Microsoft reportedly offering $1 billion for Nook Media.
I agree with Nate over at The Digital Reader that this sounds plausible. Microsoft has been working with Barnes & Noble since April of last year on Nook devices and content. Last year, they offered $300 million, much of which was aimed at developing content for Windows 8 devices. There was even speculation at the time that the next Nook would be Windows powered. Obviously that hasn’t happened, and now it looks unlikely.
Apparently the documents indicate that the Nook tablets would be discontinued by the end of 2014, to be replaced by apps on “third party partner devices.” No details on what that means. It could be Windows 8 devices, tablets made by others, or both. Either way, it sounds like there won’t be any Nook-branded tablets, if I’m reading this correctly.
The Nook e-reader line is projected to have a natural decline as people move from e-readers to tablets.
If it’s true, I’m disappointed, but not surprised. As I said in my recent article on the Nook HD, I’m a fan of the Nook reading environment, but I only like the stock experience. I’ve never been a fan of the Nook reader apps, and just to check if anything had changed, I downloaded the app onto my Nexus 7. Nope. Basically the same app as the last time I tried it, and it doesn’t have quite the same look and feel as the Nook HD reader.
However, considering Barnes & Noble’s struggle with the Nook line (caused, in my opinion, by some bad decisions on their part), I wouldn’t be surprised if they really were considering going in a different direction. From where they are now, it’s probably a good idea.
I intend to enjoy my Nook HD for as long as it lasts. I should get a good two or three years out of it, if I’m careful. A lot could happen in that time.