Windows Phone Nook: The best device Microsoft's money can buy

Windows Phone Nook: The best device Microsoft's money can buy

Summary: The Microsoft/Nook deal has pundits wondering if we'll see a Nook based on Windows Phone. If that happens Windows Phone will appear to power the best devices Microsoft's money can buy.


The surprising news that Microsoft had inked a deal with Barnes & Noble to both settle their Android patent dispute and form an ebook partnership caught everyone off-guard. Mary-Jo Foley has all of the details of the deal, but in a nutshell Microsoft paid B&N $300 million to settle its lawsuit and buy into a spin-off of the Nook ebook business of B&N.

This is not Microsoft's first foray into the ebook world, its Microsoft Reader was one of the first ebook ecosystems. That system was based on the old Windows Mobile platform, and users will fondly (or not) remember the .LIT files it used. Microsoft Reader first gave us the great ClearType technology which eventually migrated to other Microsoft products.

This new deal has analysts wondering if we will see a Nook running Windows 8 in the future, or perhaps Windows Phone. Nooks currently use a variant of Android, the basis for the patent infringement suit from Microsoft. According to reports, in spite of the settlement B&N must still pay a royalty to Microsoft for each Nook sold with Android, so it makes sense for a switch to the new partner's OS.

I would like to see a Windows RT version of the Nook Tablet, and the minimum display resolution for Metro apps in Windows 8 (1024x600) would be suitable for a 7-inch device. To keep the Nook price down at an acceptable level it might make more sense for Microsoft to produce a version of Windows Phone for the Nook, which would be a great fit for that size reader.

While a Nook with the OS would be nice, if this happens it might send a bad message about Windows Phone. First Microsoft is paying what is believed to be over a billion dollars to Nokia to make phones with Windows Phone. That's not paying dividends so far.

A Windows Phone version of the Nook would have that $300 million price tag associated with it. That and the Nokia deal would make it appear that Windows Phone is the best mobile device money can buy. Maybe not customer's money, but Microsoft's money. Heck, maybe if Microsoft paid LG big bucks it would still be making Window Phones.

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Topics: Telcos, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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  • A temptation

    A NOOK Tablet running Windows 8: I would certainly be tempted.
  • I read

    I believe they paid 300 million for a 25% or so stake in a new company? We have no idea how much barnes and noble have put in, but we also know B&N are paying microsoft royalties for each android device now... I would re-word your first few lines, unless you were intentionally trying to make it sound like MS would have lost the court case, when they didnt.
    • For a company that count's it's revenue

      in terms of billions, 300 million is "small change" to them.
      Tim Cook
    • Only on Paper

      His first few lines are probably correct, though we will never know the exact details. B&N got credited for paying for patent licenses. That doesn't mean that any money actually went to Microsoft. The settlement is a way for both companies to potentially make money out of the deal without either one losing the lawsuit. That B&N got such a good deal in the settlement (one where they actually gain instead of either paying or merely avoiding paying) implies that they had the upper hand in the court case. However, the actual outcome of the case was still uncertain. A settlement like this creates a "no loser" outcome, which both companies were agreeable to at this point.
    • Actuall they got

      A 17% stake for $300 million. I wonder what their stake in Nokia is, for the $2 billion they threw into that bottomless pit?
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • Why should you care?

        really, I'm surprised that trolls even think of such things. I thought all you guys thought about was what color to paint your bridge.
        William Farrel
  • Why would anyone want to read an eTextbook on a 7" WOA device?

    Nobody wants to read eTextbooks (remember that many of these stores are at colleges) on a 7" form-factor device. In addition, Barnes & Noble already has 7" form-factor tablets and eReaders.

    I've got a geography textbook that I read from time-to-time (as a reference). It's dimensions are 8.5" x 11", 1" thick and it's too heavy to read holding it in one hand. There are maps and photos in the book that are too big to be displayed on a 7" form-factor device. And at this scale, the text would be much too small.

    A 10" form-factor device is the right size for reading eTextbooks and it's a lot lighter than carrying around 6-12 textbooks all semester. And given that B & N does not currently have any 10" form-factor tablets and eReaders, it would be complementary to B & Ns current offerings.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Want and Do

      I don't *want* to read on a small screen. Yet since I don't want to lug around another device, and my phone is already with me, I'm using WP's Kindle reader no matter what I "want." I'll prefer to read on a 7" device or even larger, but what I do will depend on what's convenient to have around when I do the reading.
  • Maybe if LG made Windows Phones

    their growth would not have been stagnant in 2011?
    Tim Cook
    • Perhaps the problem is...

      that they do make Windows Phones and no one knows or cares.
    • Stagnant is

      Exactly how many have described WP 7. With WP 8 due out in less than 6 months, it might not be the best time to buy WP 7 :(
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • Especially since that shiny new Lumia isn't going to get WP8

        I can't help but wonder what Lumia 900 users will feel like when they learn they're committed to a phone for 2 years that won't run the new OS and the guy in the phone store got paid $50 for selling it to them. I suspect a bit of churn among WP7 owners.
  • God No!

    The Nook (Both versions) is AWESOME and wold go in the toilet with the addition of Windows and it's FUGLY UI.... If they went that route it would definitely spur iPad sales with the nasty Windows 8/Phone UI.
    • There you have it folks...

      a extremely confident reason to actually buy one.
  • Windows Phone Nook: The best device Microsoft's money can buy

    We can only hope that B&N is smart enough to do something like this. A Windows Phone Nook would be a huge seller since you are getting the Microsoft ecosystem with it.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • The value of the Microsoft Metro ecosystem is suspect at best.

      Nook is ARM-based, so unless they move to Intel, you're only going to get Metro. And Metro has hardly set the world on fire. Granted, we've yet to Metro tablets, but judging from it's success in the handset market prepare to be "whelmed."
      • Even with intel they should only have winrt apps (metro) on the nook.

        That's all they need. The reader, the market, IE, and winrt app support.
        Johnny Vegas
  • Metro not supported at 1024x600

    Mr. Kendrick,

    I just double-checked the requirements and Metro applications are not supported at 1024x600, only the classic desktop mode. Metro requires 768 vertical pixels.

    Also, I highly doubt Microsoft would jump into this bandwagon with any "phone" intentions.

    The scenario of a new Nook powered by the converged Windows 8 kernel, possibly with Metro and the prospect of selling eBooks via the Windows Store is a more likely option.
    • And people complain about Apple

      The reality is that Microsoft is not the OEM, or even the ODM. Microsoft is a supplier to the OEM/ODM. Why should Microsoft dictate the screen resolution of any device?That would be like Firestone dictating the car design based on tires. Does anyone else see the irony of Microsoft's Anti-Competitive Business Practices? Since when does the component seller dictate the overall package and design of the device?
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • Because Windows 8 was designed / spec'd with desktop / laptops in mind

        The Windows team obtained telemetry from Windows 7 installs and determined a percentage that was somewhere in the high 90's using 768 or more vertical pixels. In order to ease the life of Metro style app designers, they set the cut off margins specified above. Devs now have a clear minimum screen res to design for that is close to what most people aim for with web design.

        Also, comparing the OS to the tires of a car is misleading. Surely the OS is more like the engine. And surely the engine available has serious implications on the kind of vehicle it can be useful in.