By Vamien McKalin | May 09, 2013 12:03 PM EDT
In October of 2012, Microsoft helped Nook Media split from its retail arm Barnes & Noble with a $300 million investment. This move gave Microsoft a 16.8 percent stake in Nook Media LLC, along with getting B&N content on Windows 8 and Windows Phone through Nook apps.
After the deal was finalized and reported to the press, various reports popped up about a Windows 8-based Nook tablet; however, that never materialized. But right now, that doesn't matter, since Microsoft is offering to purchase Nook Media LLC for a whopping $1 billion, according to TechCrunch:
"Microsoft is offering to pay $1 billion to buy the digital assets of Nook Media LLC, the digital book and college book joint venture with Barnes & Noble and other investors, according to internal documents we've obtained. In this plan, Microsoft would redeem preferred units in Nook Media, which also includes a college book division, leaving it with the digital operation — e-books, as well as Nook e-readers and tablets."
"The documents also reveal that Nook Media plans to discontinue its Android-based tablet business by the end of its 2014 fiscal year as it transitions to a model where Nook content is distributed through apps on 'third-party partner' devices. Speculation about the plan to discontinue the Nook surfaced in February. The documents we have are not clear on whether the third-party tablets would be Microsoft's own Windows 8 devices, tablets made by others (including competing platforms) or both. Third-party tablets, according to the document, are due to get introduced in 2014."
It is clear by this move that Microsoft is planning to enter the e-books arena to compete directly with Amazon and Google, for there is no other reason for Microsoft to spend $1 billion on a company that is experiencing a decline in its core business.
In the coming months, we should keep our eyes peeled for an e-book section in the Windows 8 and Windows Phone stores. Microsoft might even go out on a limb and release a device designed for e-book reading, but that is unlikely — still, you just never know what could happen.
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