The docs reportedly reveal that Nook Media plans to retire their current line of hardware by the end of the 2014 fiscal year and transition to a model which focuses on getting Nook apps onto partner devices and 3rd-party hardware. Obviously that also indicates the coming end of the Nook ereaders, a detail that comes as no surprise given the recent rumor that B&N passed on using the new 6.8" E-ink screen on a Nook Glow HD.
So is this story true? I think so, but the more important question is whether B&N will take Microsoft up on their offer.
Microsoft has clearly been interested in Nook Media ever since the subsidiary was formed last year. That's why MS put up $300 million for a minority share, so today's news would make perfect sense.
And the price also makes sense; while some might think that it undervalues the $1.8 billion value that B&N assigned to Nook Media, I always thought that B&N had overpriced Nook Media by a significant margin. Furthermore, a billion dollars doesn't mean the same thing to MS as it would to B&N; Microsoft has over $60 billion in cash on hand. They won't miss a billion here or there.
But the important question here is whether B&N will take Microsoft up on the offer. I expect them to do so, yes.
This is the kind of deal that B&N should have made this time last year, but they didn't. B&N had just come off a not entirely satisfactory holiday season which made them decide to spin off Nook Media, but instead of selling off the Nook B&N instead took a piecemeal investment from Microsoft.
I'm afraid that if B&N repeats that mistake it will be the end of the Nook platform.
But I'm not too worried because that probably won't happen. Remember a few months back when Len Riggio wanted to buy the B&N retail stores and split the company in two? He didn't want Nook Media, just the stores, so today's deal is almost exactly what he wants - almost.
It's not quite the deal he wanted back then - MS is trying to buy the Nook but not the B&N College bookstores. Those would stay with B&N (according to the rumor). Still, I expect Riggio to take Microsoft up on the offer. It's close enough to what he wants that he'd be a fool to pass it up.