Microsoft, Barnes & Noble joint venture finalized and named

Summary:The Microsoft-Barnes & Noble joint venture, formerly called NewCo, is now officially known as Nook Media LLC, and is a subsidiary of B&N.

The "NewCo" venture formed by Microsoft and Barnes & Noble back in April 2012 -- now known officially as Nook Media LLC -- has received final regulatory approval, the pair announced on October 4.

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"Microsoft and Barnes & Noble's strategic partnership in NOOK Media LLC will enable the companies to advance world-class digital reading experiences to the hundreds of millions of customers they jointly serve," according to the press release issued to mark the occasion.

Nook Media LLC includes the digital and college businesses of Barnes & Noble. It is backed by a $300 million investment from Microsoft. According to today's press release, Nook Media "will continue to have a very close and mutually beneficial relationship with Barnes & Noble's retail stores."

Nook Media is a Barnes & Noble subsidiary, not a separate company, at least for now. From today's release:

"As previously announced, there is no set timetable for Barnes & Noble's review of strategic options for its investment in NOOK Media LLC. There can be no assurance that the review will result in a strategic separation or the creation of a stand-alone public company. Barnes & Noble does not intend to comment further regarding the review unless and until a decision is made."

It's not known exactly what Nook Media will provide, beyond a promised Windows 8 Nook app which will be downloadable from the Windows 8 app store, and which will be free to consumers.

A B&N filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission back in May fueled the speculation fires further with mention of a possible Microsoft Reader that could include an interface to the Nook Media Store. The 55 mentions in the same SEC filing of "Windows Phone" had some of us conjecturing that there could be a B&N/NewCo Windows Phone OS-based reader or mini-tablet in the wings.

As of this week, it seems there's not going to be a "Wook" (Windows-based Nook) available this holiday season, after all. It also seems B&N won't be offering or directly integrating with Microsoft's Xbox Live video or Marketplace service, either.

Topics: Microsoft, Tablets, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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