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Microsoft May Acquire Nook Tablet Business From Barnes and Noble

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  • Next Up (Score:2, Funny)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) *

    So, the Nook is history, and we will see a crippled Sidewalk or Ceiling Tile or Man Hole or whatever that Microsoft thing is? Oh yes... The Surface.

    • Re:Next Up (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @07:36PM (#43680777)

      We have two companies admitting failure here, B&N and MSFT.

      It's too bad about the Nook, they are nice devices. Nook should have won over Kindle, but B&N didnt have the foresight years ago to get into the everything business the way Amazon did, so they were always going to be muscled out of the market.

      Microsoft on the other hand will probably just try to make money off Nook's patent portfolio, given they have failed with their "Surface" (which, near as I can tell, is some kind of break-dancing tutor device.)

      • Re:Next Up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PCM2 (4486) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @08:10PM (#43680971) Homepage

        So Nook was a failure for B&N? Sure, maybe it's not giving Amazon as much of a run for its money as B&N hoped. But then again, just what does B&N think it's going to do if it gives up on Nook now? Sell magazines and coffee? Good luck on that >cough< Borders >cough<.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by erroneus (253617)

          Our pop, impatient "gotta have it now" while at the same time "I'll wait for the movie because reading is too time consuming" mentality is destroying not just our own brain cells, but reducung the capacity and potention of our children.

          I'm too tired to think about this, but I'm pretty sure it's tragic.

        • Re:Next Up (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @10:02PM (#43681581)

          Nook had a lot of advantages too. Epub format so you could get books from other vendors (not sure how hard that was) and back them up somewhere for safety, whereas kindle prefers a proprietary format. Nook had a lot of features before Kindle too, like pdf and book lending. Amazon has taken the step of recalling books with DRM, which I haven't heard about B&N doing yet.

          And face it, Amazon is a far bigger faceless entity than B&N. If you like real book stores then B&N wins.

          • The Kindle had (shitty) pdf support the same month as the Nook launched, though I'm sure the Nook competition is what pushed Amazon to add it.

            DRM is not really an issue with a Kindle (or a Nook) because with Calibre you can automatically strip DRM from files and convert from any format to any format.
            It is trivial to buy from non-DRM sources and read those books on a Nook or Kindle.

            Amazon once removed copies of books that it sold that it didn't have the right to sell and promptly said they wouldn't ever do i
            • by Darinbob (1142669)

              Amazon recalled the e-books, which they could not have done with physical books. If they had made that mistake with real books they'd have been forced to eat the costs, thus paying for their own mistakes. With e-books they just flip a switch and problem solved, except for angry customers.

        • So Nook was a failure for B&N?

          Pretty much. They're pretty much getting their asses handed to them by Amazon, Apple and Google. I'm not sure I know anyone who actually owns a Nook though obviously they have been selling a fair number. When people think technology, Barnes & Noble isn't exactly the first name that springs to mind. Though the Nook seems to be a decent product it has the vague scent of desperation about it. Given what happened with Borders one has to wonder if they are buying a product that is going to be abandoned

          • by wwphx (225607)
            I have one, and I like it. I haven't rooted it yet, hope to do that later this summer. Bought it for my wife for Xmas a couple of years ago, she didn't care for it. I started using it a month ago and quite like it for reading books off Project Gutenberg. Just finished the first volume of letters from Ludwig Von Beethoven and The Great Gatsby. 1984 and the second collection of B's letters are up next.

            I didn't want a Kindle because of the Mobi requirement and the conversion that you had to do to read
        • by RyoShin (610051)

          But then again, just what does B&N think it's going to do if it gives up on Nook now?

          Judging from the last time I was in a B&N (a few weeks ago), I'd say the answer is "become a high-class, more limited Target". They've had a DVD/CD section for some time now, and in the past few years they've started carrying toys, focusing mostly on exploratory, educational, or similar ones like various planetarium-style items and LEGO. I think they started doing stuffed animals recently.

          I don't know how well this

      • Microsoft on the other hand will probably just try to make money off Nook's patent portfolio

        B&N were one of the few companies that didn't cave in to Microsoft's FATx extortion racket. That won't be happening again.

      • Re:Next Up (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Cinder6 (894572) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @11:39PM (#43681941)

        I agree that it'll be a loss for consumers if the Nook disappears. However...

        I've owned (or currently own) three Kindles, one Nook (the glow light version), and the new Kobo that got slashvertised here a few weeks ago. As I've posted before, Amazon simply has the best platform of the three (I haven't tried others). It's ridiculously easy to sideload books wirelessly, without jailbreaking, to all of your Kindles at once. More importantly, Kindle will sync the location of sideloaded books. Third-party publishers, such as Baen, already offer MOBI files, so you don't even need to use Calibre.

        The only other eBook vendor I know of that syncs sideloaded stuff is Apple, and they don't have a dedicated eReader, and sideloading is a little bit trickier than the Kindle. I haven't checked out Google; how are they in this arena?

        I've also found Amazon to be the cheapest, at least for books I actually want to read. Two books on my shortlist, A Fire Upon the Deep and The Last Colony, are both $2 more on the Kobo store. A couple dollars here and there add up. (My solution right now is to buy on Amazon and convert it for the Kobo.)

        What makes it all so frustrating is that Amazon has the worst hardware of the three. It isn't that it's bad, it's that it's very utilitarian. The Nook has the best-feeling reader, while the Kobo has the best software (their text options are downright great), screen, and backlight.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          As I've posted before, Amazon simply has the best platform of the three (I haven't tried others). It's ridiculously easy to sideload books wirelessly, without jailbreaking, to all of your Kindles at once.

          I have a nook simple touch. It is rooted. I have installed the Amazon app. I have a file manager with SMB support, which can reach my fileserver. I can run samba on the device, and copy files to it directly. Out of the box, not so amazing. Rooted, pretty fantastic. Did I mention it's overclocked to 1 GHz and has a toggle-able fast rendering mode?

          What makes it all so frustrating is that Amazon has the worst hardware of the three. It isn't that it's bad, it's that it's very utilitarian. The Nook has the best-feeling reader, while the Kobo has the best software (their text options are downright great), screen, and backlight.

          The Nook is the best-feeling reader, and I can read just fine. I do wish I had the one with the glowlight, so I could use it in the dark. I got it used-like-new wit

      • by emaname (1014225)

        ...given they have failed with their "Surface" (which, near as I can tell, is some kind of break-dancing tutor device.)

        Oh man, tripleevenfall, do I wish I had mod points for you. Clearly that's the impression from their goofy commercial. I just can't understand what the hipster is doing in there.

        • I thought it was even funnier when they were advertising some sort of futuristic break-dancing work environment that had a Netflix app prominently displayed on their alleged work tablets.

      • We have two companies admitting failure here, B&N and MSFT.

        Microsoft isn't admitting failure, it's a brilliant strategy. What they're no doubt planning to do is port Windows Nothing (formerly Windows RT, renamed due to its 0.00% market share [zdnet.com]), to the Nook. Anything divided by nothing is infinity, so Microsoft will gain infinite market share through this move. Sheer brilliance.

    • Re:Next Up (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday May 09, 2013 @07:50PM (#43680885) Journal

      I don't know why you got modded down since buying companies and tech and shitting all over them and making them worthless? Been their MO for several years now. Zune, Kin, Sidekick, killing the profitable playsforsure for the DOA Zune market, if its one thing MSFT is good at its taking a lesser player on the field and totally ruining it. I'm shocked that Amazon's stock didn't go up more at the announcement as nook has been the only competition they've had in eReaders and MSFT will kill them dead, most likely by getting rid of the cheap hardware and going "herps derp, they'll buy a $1000 MSFT Surface cuz of the Nook, we're special! herpa de derpa". because MSFT is gonna sell at Apple prices or die dammit!...of course it looks like the "or die dammit!" is what is gonna happen in reality.

      Poor MSFT shareholders, it must be frustrating as hell to watch the company be run off the rails by an incompetent CEO that has the biggest shareholder as his BFF so no matter how he shits on the company he can't be fired. I've seen many saying that "when things get bad enough Bill will come back!"...no he won't, Jobs had his massive ego tied into his company, Bill has cashed out enough stock he could live like a God if MSFT burned to the ground. More likely he'll quietly cash out and walk away,he doesn't care about his old company anymore, its nothing like Jobs and Apple.

      • I'm shocked that Amazon's stock didn't go up more at the announcement as nook has been the only competition they've had in eReaders [...]

        Well, except for that iPad thingy out there, which incidentally gets used as an e-Reader on occasion. May explain why Amazon didn't get much stockholder love. Mind you, when you also consider that Amazon itself has been recently positioning the Kindle brand against the iPad, I can see why no one is under the impression that Amazon/Kindle is the 'last man standing' in the market.

        Other than that bit? Hell yes I agree with your post otherwise.

        I always found it fascinating to see MSFT buy something, only to run

      • Bill has cashed out enough stock he could live like a God if MSFT burned to the ground. More likely he'll quietly cash out and walk away,he doesn't care about his old company anymore, its nothing like Jobs and Apple.

        The thing to remember about these crazed sociopaths is that they NEVER have enough money, prestige, power. Bill is just channelling his ego in a different direction now. He's trying to get his own legacy, the guy who cured malaria, to one-up Jobs. Who knows what he'll decide tomorrow. Maybe we need criminal profilers to figure these guys out.

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          It seems like Bill has his hands full with his foundation and trying to make a name for himself with it (which is fine, really; curing malaria and other diseases is something really beneficial to humanity, unlike trying to make MS relevant again). I seriously doubt he's going to jump back to trying to save MS.

  • The Age Old Story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @06:33PM (#43680305) Journal

    If you can't grow a market, just buy one.

    • by symbolset (646467) * on Thursday May 09, 2013 @06:38PM (#43680335) Journal
      And then burn it to the ground.
      • by sehlat (180760)

        And after starting the fire attempt to micturate on it to put it out.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 09, 2013 @06:50PM (#43680421)
        But the fourth one stayed up! And that's what you're going to get, lad, the shittiest tablet in all of England.
        • But the fourth one stayed up! And that's what you're going to get, lad, the shittiest tablet in all of England.

          Where's my Mod Funny points when I need then?

        • But the fourth one stayed up! And that's what you're going to get, lad, the shittiest tablet in all of England.

          But mothe—er, Father, I don't any of that.... I don't want to get married to a Micro-softie. I'd rather... I'd rather just Upgrade my Jelly Bean.

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday May 09, 2013 @08:01PM (#43680931) Journal

        God isn't that the truth and the royal bitch is the entire thing comes down to MSFT having no idea what their own strengths are so that aping Apple is hamstringing the entire company.

        Look at playsforsure, which to me is a perfect example of MSFT taking a growing market and burning it to the ground trying to be Apple, right before the Zune came out the playsforsure market was growing like mad, you could buy playsforsure devices at every price point, from the $20 gumstix MP3 players at the checkout counter to $300 PMPs, and because there was a rich ecosystem both on the hardware and the software side it was growing thanks to good old competition and with every sale MSFT was getting a cut....what happened? Most likely Ballmer or one of his PHBs said "Its not like Apple, they get a BIG cut and we only get a small one because we aren't in control, we need to fix this!" and promptly destroyed the whole fucking thing.

        This is gonna piss off the FOSS advocates when i point this out but what has always sold MSFT tech is how OPEN it was, how you quickly got competition and economies of scale so you have every price point and possible consumer covered. Anybody could write Windows software, any website could sell Windows software, you had all this competition which compared to the locked down centralized control of Apple was appealing, but now Ballmer is shitting all over that because HE wants to be Apple, HE wants a "Microsoft ecosystem" where he gets a 30% cut of everything, and its fucking slaughtering the company because its throwing out everything that MSFT was strong at, plenty of competition and open systems, and leaning on everything they sucked at, making "ecosystems" and tying everything together.

        • The main difference is that MS was chasing the wrong revenue stream. Apple sells music because it sells players. Apple doesn't really care that you are tied to their music store. MS pissed off many of their partners by making a player that only worked with their store. Years later the Zune sold some units but was it worth it to alienate all their partners.
        • by SEE (7681)

          Oh, yeah.

          I mean, imagine if the Zune, instead of being an effort at an Apple-type ecosystem, had been an effort at a platform attack on Apple?

          Imagine a Zune that supported PlaysForSureâ"and every other format Microsoft could manage to add. Even open-source formats like Ogg Vorbis.

          That had a fully-documented, royalty-free accessories port, for both the hardware and software, and a sufficiently-documented sync protocol to allow third-party media players (even for *nix) to work with the device.

          That launc

          • That could have actually worked.

            That did actually work. It's called Android.

            • by tlhIngan (30335)

              That did actually work. It's called Android.

              Not really. Android's the most popular mobile OS, yes, but that's just because it's like PCs - it's being put on devices that Apple won't touch.

              Samsung has around 80% of the Android market. But the SGS3, the best selling Android smartphone, only sold 50-odd million phones. Out of the entire Android ecosystem, that's roughly 8-10% of the market - by far the market leader for the model, but a majority of phones sold. That means out of the 8 out of 10 phones Samsung

              • by symbolset (646467) *

                Some factual glitches: Samsung only makes half of the Android devices. What you call "crap phones" are phones the customer selected because they have some mix of features that the customer prefers. Android phones outsell iPhones by over 4:1, not 3:1, meaning that Samsung by itself sells twice as many phones as Apple. Usage numbers have always been sketchy at best, and always lag sales.

                As iPhones absorb iPods, so Android phones are absorbing other media players. Android devices are also eating into shar

          • by dbIII (701233)
            Can't imagine it, can't even imagine a Zune that works every day on a leap year (remember that idiotic design failure). Face it, they rolled out team Z and not team A for that one and wouldn't have gone for anything other than a conservative low budget copy of somebody else's stuff.
            • by cbhacking (979169)

              FYI, that was only one version of the device. The second-gen models were able to handle leap days fine. The first-gen failed at that because their clock code was developed by Toshiba, who also manufactured the hardware, and apparently Toshiba can't code their way out of a wet paper bag.

              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                But doesn't that just illustrate his and my points, that you had hamfisted marketing driven crap instead of actual thought going into making products people would want to own? I mean you have a device that is gonna be your flagship...and you don't even do a code audit to make sure there isn't show stopping bugs on it? Really?

                To me it just shows what I've been saying for years, MSFT under Ballmer is being run by the marketing dept, not engineering like under Gates, and the lack of quality shows. Hell if th

                • by dbIII (701233)

                  MSFT under Ballmer is being run by the marketing dept, not engineering like under Gates, and the lack of quality shows

                  Even just getting a Win7 OEM disk shows that. The fucking thing is in the case upside down so you can see that label through the plastic and to look nice for marketing purposes. Functionally that is utterly stupid since you have to be careful not to get fingerprints all over the thing getting it out of the case, and I most definitely have had read errors due to fingerprints on CDROMs in t

                  • by hairyfeet (841228)

                    Hell spend a few months in windows 8 to see what marketing gone amok is REALLY like friend!

                    You have this fugly garish primary color mess, probably because somebody told them "that will draw eyes to your marketing" which is ALL the "Start screen" (fuck you MSFT, its a task panel. Can I start anything I need from the start screen? No? then its a fucking task panel) is in a nutshell, its MARKETING. Its MSFT "apps" that give you MSFT ads and is designed to try to ram the "MSFT Ecosystem" down your damned throat

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            The sad part is right before Zune came out...that is EXACTLY what you had. you have not one company controlling the entire thing like Apple whom as another pointed out was only really interested in selling their overpriced PMPs. No you had over a dozen websites, all facing good old free market competition for every user so they were fighting like tigers with better prices, cheaper sales, right before Zune announced no PFS support which destroyed the market i remember IIRC Napster was offering "all you can e

    • by DogDude (805747)
      If you can't grow a market, just buy one.

      That's right. That's business. Sometimes that's the best business decision. It doesn't seem to bother you, since you're posting on a site owned by Dice.com that bought their way into the geek market, right?
      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        I think you missed the point which is that as a business strategy that can work IF you understand the market you are buying into, but with Zune, Sin, Sidekick, Zune market, and WinRT I don't think its a stretch to say MSFT doesn't have a damned clue about consumer media so they will just burn it like they burned so many others.
      • by PCM2 (4486)

        That's right. That's business. Sometimes that's the best business decision.

        I think what the GP was implying is that Microsoft had no chance of growing a market in e-books, couldn't grow one if it tried, and that once it owns Nook it will still be completely incapable of growing the market it just bought -- in fact it will shrink. Sometimes the best business decision is to stay out of markets where your company has no competency.

        • There's really no reason to buy a Nook now that there are better tablets at the same pricepoint and comparable ones for less. A lot has changed in two year's time.
        • Sometimes the best business decision is to stay out of markets where your company has no competency.

          Anybody remember when Microsoft was thinking about buying Intuit? Microsoft Money (heh) wasn't quite as nice as Quicken and they really wanted to get into the accounting software market big. Everyone balked, some screamed anti-trust. In the end MS threw in the towel and Intuit is doing well. Imagine if they had bought Quicken only to kill it later because of their incompetency.

    • by ignavus (213578)

      If you can't grow a market, just buy one.

      Trouble is, buying a declining market isn't going to help you if you cannot grow your own.

      You are just left with two losing products instead of one.

  • Well, it's an improvement. They stopped innovating and went to almost 10 years of mee-too-itis, not learning from IBM and OS 2, and it caught up to them. So buy an innovation that isn't mee too.

    Buying other peoples' successful stuff has its own issues.

  • you're assuming... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That the Nook had a market to burn. The hardware-for-price was a winner for the form factor but ultimately B&Ns walled garden app store proved once again that what people really want is selection.

    I own 3 nooks, but they're all running CM 10.1. Stock ROM is very limited.

    • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Thursday May 09, 2013 @06:59PM (#43680489) Homepage Journal
      If "what people really want is selection", then why do people buy video game consoles instead of PCs? PCs have a far larger selection of video games and other applications than consoles due to the far lower overhead and the far less strict developer qualifications. Why would people want selection on a tablet but not on a TV?
      • Ease of use (I have never owned a console, but I know how to set the jumpers on my SoundBlaster to get sound.). It is the difference between a Swiss army knife and a screwdriver. One does everything, the other does 1 thing well.

        As for the Nook – why not an Amazon Kindle (arguably a better selection) or a full fledge table (better everything, but higher cost)? It just did not land in that sweet spot of cost / performance / selection / ease of use.

        • by mcrbids (148650)

          Jumpers?

          On a Sound Blaster?

          The last sound blaster I recall having jumpers was a farking ISA model. Since going to all PCI in about 1998-9, I've never seen one that ever need any kind of setting...

          Just how old is your computer?!?

      • > Why do people buy video game consoles instead of PCs

        Simple: Ease of use. You don't have to fart around with updating drivers, keeping all the software up-to-date, worry about viruses, performance tweaking, etc.

        Remember computing generally falls into 2 camps:
        Simplicity < - - - and - - - > Flexibility

        Most costumers don't give a crap about flexibility - they just want something works and is easy to use, ala iOS. Which is a segue to my next point; Tech companies forget the biggest ba

      • People don't buy consoles for other applications, they buy them for games. To give you an idea of the problem with PCs (and understand, I'm perfectly ok with tossing all the consoles into the Crack of Doom and just having non-gimped PC hardware, in fact that sounds like a perfect world) I'll just talk about my joystick experience.

        I have a lot of extra Wii classic controllers. I keep getting them as gifts, I've got like half a dozen of them. Seriously.

        So, the crummy, used, knock-off XBox 360 controller c

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Because they think its like the old days and don't know how cheap and easy it is now to get an HTPC? You'd be surprised how many people when i show them that dirt cheap Athlon Triple or Quad and how easy it is to hook up think "Won't that be expensive? and won't I have to buy constant upgrades?" which back in the day was true, but since they switched from MHz wars to core wars is no longer the case. I can build them a damned nice gaming PC for less than $500 and make a decent profit and it'll game for years

    • As I recall, B&N just opened the Nook to the whole Android store, so that issue appears over.
    • by Cinder6 (894572)

      In my experience, the Nook has a similar selection to Amazon, except perhaps for indie authors. I think the problem here is mindshare. Amazon was first, everyone and their mom shops at Amazon, and they've had the Kindle plastered on the front page for years.

    • Eh, I can load up any amount of books via USB, I'm not constricted at all. Also I don't care about the ROM, apps, or versatility, it does one job and it does it very well, and that's all I will ever want from it.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @07:11PM (#43680583) Homepage

    With no Nook, how will Barnes and Noble survive? They're the last major US bookstore chain, and they've already closed many of their stores.

  • First Microsoft sued Barnes and Noble, and B&N went to court to fight. Then they reached a settlement in which Microsoft agreed to make a large investment in their digital media business. Now Microsoft seems to be about to buy Nook. Next, Windows 8 Mini-tablets? Even with patents, purchasing, and the long march towrds their OS on all tablets, will this work? How many billions will this cost?
  • It says they will discontinue selling tablets, so what does MS get from the deal ? The Nook brand name with no products ? Does not seem buying it to run a marketplace for a dead end tablet would make sense either.
  • Yeah, I know the Nook was ok... Maybe the time has come for B&N to create an actualy good e-reader, like nothing already in the market.

    Or maybe they could stop locking themselves behind plataforms, and create something for all tablet-like devices out there. With unobstrusive or no DRM.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I have a simple touch and I think it was a great product. It does well at what you want it to do, show you books. And with very little hacking you can make it do all the stuff you expect it to do, like show you other formats or let you read email or websurf (opera mobile ftw! the only browser usable on NST. you can't count the stock browser, since this is eclair, and it's worse than useless.)

      With that said, I have bought zero books from the nook store, and two books (or was it one?) from amazon. It's hard t

  • I like my Nook. I only use it for reading so it's limitations compared to a tablet never bothered me. Microsoft will likely rip out its basic Android underpinnings and replace them with Windows. The result will be a seemingly underpowered "general purpose" device that tries to do everything (but often not well). More importantly, the battery life will be cut substantially due to Windows lower efficiency. They'll effectively ruin the Nook as an e-reader.
    • by 0racle (667029)
      I doubt the old nook and nook color will have windows 8 ported to it. I doubt the nook color could run it, but the newer nook tablet might. Or they'll just stop updates and create a Nook Surface if they want to continue making hardware.
  • "Documents reveal that Nook Media plans to discontinue selling tablets and transition to a model under which media is distributed through partners"

    According to the Techcrunch report, Nook Media plans to discontinue its Android-based tablet business [techcrunch.com]. Are these two events related?
  • ... They have squandered so much potential and they seem to determined to squander their vast fortune buying out one failed project after another and running it thoroughly into the ground.

  • by Duncan J Murray (1678632) on Friday May 10, 2013 @06:13AM (#43683107) Homepage

    I don't get the connection between this http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/11/15/171201/barnes-noble-names-microsofts-disputed-android-patents [slashdot.org] and what's happening now.

    In fact, because of B&Ns stand, I would have bought a nook here in the UK.

    D

  • Microsoft buys you.

    Farewell Nook, we hardly knew ya.

    The sale of, uh, partnership agreement of the Nook should shore up B&N for a week or two.

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