Wherein others confirm what I already told you:
What I didn’t expect was that Microsoft would be stupid enough to go All-In with Nook Media. But Microsoft has not been the most rational corporation recently, what with Windows 8 tanking PC sales and the Surface going nowhere. Ballmer probably figures it’s easier and faster to buy an existing firm than to negotiate from scratch all those licenses Nook Media has.
The documents also reveal that Nook Media plans to discontinue its Android-based tablet business by the end of its 2014 fiscal year as it transitions to a model where Nook content is distributed through apps on “third-party partner” devices. Speculation about the plan to discontinue the Nook surfaced in February. The documents we have are not clear on whether the third-party tablets would be Microsoft’s own Windows 8 devices, tablets made by others (including competing platforms) or both. Third-party tablets, according to the document, are due to get introduced in 2014.
Nook e-readers, meanwhile, do not appear to fall into the discontinuation pile immediately. Rather, they’re projected to have their own gradual, natural decline — following the general trend of consumers moving to tablets as all-purpose devices.
Techcrunch can rely on leaked docs all it wants. I’m telling you there will be a new Nook tablet this year and it will run Windows RT.
If you consider Microsoft acquiring Nook Media from the standpoint of keeping Windows RT alive, it makes perfect sense.
The Nook tablets have already been heavily marketed as “reading tablets.” So people buy them based on “reading” being prominent in their mind. Having access to Windows 8 apps would be gravy.
A successful Windows RT-based Nook Tablet keeps Windows RT alive, shows Microsoft’s partners that given the right hardware people will buy RT devices, and gets Nook Media out of the business of designing sleek yet very underpowered hardware.
But there’s absolutely no middle ground here. This must either be a spectacular success or it will be a record-setting failure of unprecedented scope, killing Nook Media, ruining all chances for Windows RT, and giving even more market share to Amazon in eBooks.
Microsoft doesn’t know how the hell to market the Surface. Psychos spasmodically dancing is no way to advertise anything other than an anti-seizure medication. Barnes & Noble has had good TV ads. Let Nook Media do the damn marketing for it to have any chance at all.
Finally, despite my earlier thinking Nook Media had a chance by adding the Google Play Store and doing deep discounts, my fondle of their new tablets changed all that. The Nook HD+ is just too weak. It’s already been eclipsed by sub-$200 iPad Mini clones from China and regular eight-inch Chinese tablets (available worldwide rebadged as the Archos 80 Titanium and Archos 80 Platinum). They have double the horsepower of the Nook HD+ and no delay-inducing skin slathered over Android. Plus, the seven-inch Nook HD just feels like cheap junk. Anyone who really wants a seven-inch tablet would be better served by getting the Nexus 7 and just using the Nook app (if they’re already tied into Nookbooks; otherwise get the damn Kindle app). Technology is now changing too fast for a once-a-year player like Nook Media (and even Amazon) to successfully compete. The cycle has shrunk to six months. That’s something Apple should pay attention to as well.