Microsoft invests hundreds of millions into Barnes and Nobles’ Nook, hoping to integrate e-readers with Windows
Apple has already taken a commanding lead in ebooks, digital magazines and digital textbooks. Google and Amazon have a loose relationship, with each charging forward into the front lines of e-reader technology and now Microsoft has made a huge $600 million investment into B&N’s Nook reader as an investment into incorporating Nook services into Microsoft services.
The companies have confirmed that the Windows 8 operating system will include a Nook e-book reading app from Barnes and Noble, but there’s already speculation that a new Nook running Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system is in the offing. Noted Microsoft watcher Mary-Jo Foley says that while Microsoft “danced around” the issue of a Windows 8 Nook, there are plenty of clues that a “Windows-powered e-reader, built by Microsoft and/or Barnes & Noble, may be in the works.”
A Windows-based e-reader, instantly compatible with most corporate back-end systems, could well offer interesting integration possibilities between Nook and Office. James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research, suggested employees could share documents using the Nook and then be able to edit them in Word. “The Nook platform could become a very elegant way for colleagues to share documents with each other,” he tells CIO Journal. But, he warned, that tablet had better be available in the fall of 2012, or it will be too late where businesses are concerned.
CIOs we’ve spoken with are, at best, guardedly optimistic about the prospects for a Windows-based Nook tablet in the corporate environment. Alexander Pasik, CIO at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, said the penetration of the iPad, as well as Microsoft’s “history of failures in mobile OS,” make it unlikely that Microsoft-powered Nooks will find a place in the enterprise.
Bob Pick, CIO at Conde Nast, agrees that the iPad has first mover advantage, but says that, assuming Windows 8 “is what it should be… a new path will quickly open.”