Microsoft is mulling over the idea of buying the troubled digital assets of eBook reader and tablet brand Nook from owner Barnes & Noble and other investors. The price? A cool $1 billion.
According to internal documents obtained by Tech Crunch, the software giant has offered the sum to obtain the eBooks, eBook readers and tablets from the company. It already owns part of Nook Media LLC, which also includes a college book division, but is only interested in the digital assets.
The documents also reveal that Nook is on the brink of ditching the Android tablets altogether. It has recently dramatically dropped the prices of its 7 and 9-inch HD and HD+ tablets to £129 and £179 respectively, and introduced Google Play on both, but those seem to be fire sale measures as there are no plans for future models beyond the end of fiscal year 2014.
Instead, Nook will become an application on third-party devices, it is claimed. Nook content will therefore be available only through other manufacturers' tablets and smartphones. Whether the Microsoft sale changes this course of action is yet to be seen. It is widely expected that Microsoft will release comparably sized Windows 8 tablets this summer, so perhaps it will look to integrate Nook features in those.
The documents do show a slightly longer life for the Nook eBook readers, currently starting at £29 in the UK. They are to continue until the market switch to tablets as all-in-one devices is complete.