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Microsoft said to be considering $1 billion Nook Media buyout

Here’s a potentially interesting acquisition: Microsoft may soon purchase Nook Media for $1 billion (around £643 million), according to documents obtained by TechCrunch. Nook Media is the joint venture between Microsoft and Barnes & Noble that holds all the digital assets, including ebooks and the tablets themselves. It looks like Microsoft wants to get its claws into ebooks, most likely in an attempt to compete more closely with Amazon, Apple, and Google.

According to the documents, Microsoft would want to discontinue Barnes & Noble’s line of Android tablets by the end of 2014. Rather than using those tablets, the company would pull Nook content across “third-party partner devices” through apps. It’s not clear what operating system these third-party devices would run – it’s hard not to think of Windows, though – but they’re apparently due sometime in 2014.

As for the regular ereaders, there won’t be any immediate plans to discontinue them. Instead, the documents state that sales could naturally fall off over time as people move to multi purpose devices – again, Windows or Android tablets, not to mention the iPad. Naturally, both Microsoft and Barnes & Noble declined to comment on the documents when asked by TechCrunch.

Microsoft has been in partnership with Barnes & Noble’s Nook business  since April 2012. The former company invested $300 million (around £193 million) in the Nook division, and put in an additional $180 million (around £115 million) so that Barnes & Noble would develop content for Windows 8 devices. A purchase of all the digital assets makes sense if Microsoft is serious about taking on its rivals, but leveraging those assets will be an entirely different story.

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