updated 12:20 pm EDT, Sun March 16, 2014
B&N halts Nook apps, will deliver content for Microsoft Consumer Reader
The relationship between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft seems to be changing after an 8-K SEC filing from March 10 was discovered, showing a change in the agreement between the two companies. The book store giant will be allowed to halt development of the Nook Windows app in lieu of working with Microsoft on a project dubbed "Microsoft Consumer Reader" according to the filing. This comes after Microsoft had reportedly considered buying parts of the Nook Media for $1 billion last year.
In the filing, Nook Media will also be allowed to cease development to a Windows phone app -- which will free up cash for the subsidiary which still produces the Nook reader. The agreement was forged in part to help Nook Media retain as much capital as possible as it continues to struggle for a foothold in the e-reader market. The revision also mentions an updated revenue agreement to address the changes. Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have said little to explain the reasoning for the change, but merely appear to be looking towards the future.
Instead, Nook Media will help with the content side of Microsoft's new reader project. The SEC filing states that "Nook Media LLC ("Nook Media") and Microsoft agreed to co-branding within the Microsoft Consumer Reader for reading content delivered by Nook Media." The company "will cooperate in good faith with Microsoft to transition users to the Microsoft Consumer Reader."
An article from ZDNet says that Microsoft isn't developing a standalone e-reader. However, at least two other reader software platforms are considered in the works under Office and Xbox development names.