What does the Samsung-Nook deal mean for Microsoft?

Microsoft's investment partner Nook Media is working with Samsung on a new Android-based Nook tablet. Is there still a place for Microsoft in this arrangement?
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

We'd already heard there would be no Wook (Windows-based Nook e-reader). But instead, there's going to be a new Android-based Samsung Galaxy Nook tablet coming to market this summer.


Given Redmond's $300 million investment in Nook Media, Microsoft now has a stake (albeit, an indirect one in this case) in yet another Android platform. (Its first was the Nokia X Android phone line.)

For the old Microsoft, this would be a problem. But for the new cross-platform-focused Microsoft, I bet it's much less so.

Microsoft has launched Android versions of a number of its applications and services, including an Android version of OneNote, Office Mobile for Android phones and OneDrive cloud-storage client for Android. Microsoft is in the midst of developing a touch-first Office suite for Android tablets, which it is expected to field ahead of the Windows version.

Microsoft also is building a "consumer reader" app, which may or may not be branded Xbox Reader. It is believed to be doing this in conjunction with Nook.

In April 2012, Microsoft invested $300 million in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary, initially known as Newco, and later renamed "Nook Media." Nook Media is the part of B&N that made Nook readers and also included the digital/College businesses from Barnes & Noble. The agreement was part of an Android patent-settlement dispute between Microsoft and Barnes & Noble.

At the time of that announcement, it seemed a Nook Windows Phone app was definitely going to figure in a big way. But as of March 2014, Nook got the rights to discontinue work on its Windows 8 reading app and to cease development on a Windows Phone 8 version. Going forward, the pair would be focusing primarily on digital content.

Will the coming Microsoft-Nook reader end up on these new Android-based Samsung Galaxy Nook tablets -- at least as a downloadable option? These days, I'd say that possibility isn't as crazy as it might have once seemed....

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