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April 30, 2012
B&N/Microsoft to Compete With Apple & Amazon
PW has a story today about Barnes & Noble looking for deep pockets to help it survive against the Amazon & Apple juggernauts
. The Nook maker is teaming up with Microsoft, which is putting in a bunch of cash and getting a first-out-of-the-box Nook for Windows 8 app.
This seems like a bad and backward-thinking way for B&N to go, to me. As we've been discussing this month, dedicated e-readers are going to die, including Nook. Tablets running things like Windows 8 will replace these devices. Of course B&N wants there to be a Nook app for Windows 8. But it also wants one for iPad and Android tablets. Microsoft's money might get them first place in the development line, but it can't possibly buy exclusivity. B&N is also probably being foolish to prioritize a Windows-OS version, in that Windows 8 has such a tiny user-base. A Nook app for either of the other big sellers would likely reach far more of B&N's customers.
The PW piece has a bit of puffery about how they're going to do unspecified other things, and combine assets and blah blah. It includes blather about B&N's physical stores, about which Microsoft cares not one whit, and has not one word about the one truly revolutionary thing to happen in e-books this year: Tom Doherty imprints' decision to dump DRM.
All of which tells me they don't have an actual business model. That's kind of a shame, actually, because I can think of at least two that would be absolutely rocking, given these two companies' expertise and current footprints.
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