Feeds

Barnes & Noble's Nook freed from Windows, WinPhone apps pledge

Mystery Microsoft e-reader program to take their place?

Boost IT visibility and business value

Barnes & Noble's struggling Nook e-book division can breathe a little easier, now that Microsoft has let the bookseller off the hook on its promise to offer e-reader apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Redmond pumped $300m into Nook back in 2012, in a deal that gave it a 17.5 per cent stake in B&N's underperforming e-book subsidiary. In exchange, Nook agreed to develop a branded reader app for Windows 8 – which it did – and another for Windows Phone, although the latter has yet to appear.

Now it seems it never will. A filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that was made public on Thursday reveals that B&N and Microsoft have agreed to amend their original deal to allow Nook to give up on its Windows efforts.

The still-in-development Windows Phone app will be scrapped. More surprisingly, however, Nook will also stop distributing its existing e-reader app for Windows 8, which is on version 1.8 and enjoys a 3.6-star rating in the Windows Store.

In its place will apparently be something called the "Microsoft Consumer Reader," which we can only assume will have a different name by the time it actually ships. From the sound of it, this will be a Microsoft-developed app that's compatible with Nook books and the Nook store but can also be used to read other types of content.

Under the terms of the amended agreement between B&N and Microsoft, there will be Nook branding featured within Microsoft Consumer Reader, and Nook has agreed to "cooperate in good faith with Microsoft to transition users" to the new app.

The news doesn't bode well for either company. That Nook would even want to stop developing its Windows 8 app suggests it wasn't bringing in as much business as the Nook apps for other platforms, such as Android and iOS (even though the apps themselves are free). That's hardly the kind of publicity Microsoft wants for its latest OS.

But it also shows Nook continuing to scale back its operations amid plummeting sales. In B&N's most recent quarterly earnings report, the Nook division's revenues were down 50.4 per cent from the same period a year ago, and CEO Michael Huseby announced layoffs that he described as "ongoing."

B&N's SEC filing did not give a timeline for when the Nook app for Windows 8 will be retired, and Redmond declined to share any details regarding Microsoft Consumer Reader (or whatever it's going to be called). ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.