Microsoft, Barnes & Noble joint venture finalized and named

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.


"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


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • hmmm...

    Aside from the cash infusion, I wonder where MS's involvement in this will be.
    • Cloud/iBooks

      BN needs a cloud service to compete with Amazon and Microsoft needs a partner to compete with iBooks.
  • Dont need a wook, W8/WP8 nook readers are enough.

    Would't buy a dedicated wook anyway.
    Johnny Vegas
  • MSFT getting in content business

    It's interesting that MSFT has really ramped up "content" based transactions from hiring a former CBS executive for Xbos, investing more in MSN, ehancing music-streaming, and now going into digital reading. Definitely an arms race amongst the technology giants to shore up content ecosystem thanks to the threat of Amazon (which leads content, but now is getting into hardware). Exciting times to be a consumer, but also very confusing times.
  • MS Needed a Book Marketplace to compete

    One of the holes in the MS Marketplace was always books. Since it appears as though the goal of most "consumer" oriented OS is a conduit to a proprietary marketplace for digital content - music, video, apps...books was certainly another part that MS had to address - so basically it appears as though they just bought that from B&N. I assume that part of that deal is some revenue sharing component of folks buying books via this new app..

    They needed something to compete against Kindle/Apple...

    I also agree with the Johnny V - I wouldn't buy a wook either..
  • I'll bet it's coming.

    A 7" Windows RT tablet/e-reader is probably coming at some point, but given that we're still waiting for the first 10" RT devices to hit store shelves, I suspect we might not see one until Q1 2013 at the earliest. Microsoft probably wants to gauge enthusiasm for RT first, before committing to lots of different form factors and devices.
  • Wonder How Long Before The Joint Venture Is Disbanded...

    ...and B&N quietly takes over the $300 million as a payoff for keeping quiet about the (in)validity of Microsoft's patents...
    • Go take your meds ...

      See the comments above your troll post. The other posters are right about Microsoft needing a book ecosystem, while BN hasn't been in the best financial shape.

      The Nook HDs that just came out were in development before the Nook Media deal. Microsoft would be a good partner to co-develop the Nook hardware with in the future, running Windows RT and leveraging Azure as the cloud platform.
  • Synchronization

    Win8 will be a seamless platform where information access ahd creation will be simultaneous activities. MSF is bringing in all the components together, software, hardware, content, and eventually something like the Courier to tie it all together. I am totally astonished at the possibilities of what Microsoft seems to be bringing/putting together.
  • Errrr......

    Instead of Wook, call it the "Wookie". :-)