Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have announced that their tie-up, which was previously known as Newco, is going ahead under the name Nook Media. The new set-up will incorporate the digital and college elements of B&N’s business, and will be strongly linked to B&N’s retail outlets.
What exactly does this mean? The press release mentions an upcoming Windows 8 app that is designed to bring Nook books to the Windows environment, but there’s no mention of whether future Nooks will be based on the Windows 8 OS (a device dubbed the ‘Wook’ by some commentators). That kind of move would make sense, but we’ll have to wait and see, and no such device appears to be on the immediate horizon.
From Microsoft’s point of view, the deal allows them to bring a large ebook marketplace into their ecosystem, something that’s necessary if they’re to fight off threats from the likes of Apple and Amazon. If you think about it, Apple has iTunes and Amazon has its own store, but what does Microsoft have that can be used to sell content to consumers?