Microsoft and Nook Media (Barnes & Noble) have updated the agreement signed two years ago. According to a new 8-K filing by Barnes and Noble, Nook Media is now allowed to discontinue the Windows 8 app and cease development on the Windows Phone companion client at their discretion. Before you take to rioting in the streets, a replacement app is on the way for Windows 8, titled Microsoft Consumer Reader and we could well see a Windows Phone version from Redmond too.
Nook will instead be providing access to some digital content in Microsoft's new e-reader apps. Another such app in the works is the Microsoft Office Reader, which was shown off last year at an employee meeting and is said to provide users with access to online content, PDFs and textbooks. The Xbox team is also said to be working on a reading app, though it's unknown whether or not this will be the same as the Office Reader.
Microsoft releasing its own apps for reading will join the current Nook Windows 8 app, but if the Barnes & Noble is to pull support for its branded solution, consumers would have to download Microsoft's new reading app to access said content. And since this is Microsoft, you can bet to see a counterpart released for Windows Phone. A tweet published by the Nook support Twitter account also teased such a release (but we doubt they'll release a standalone app, rather integrating with what Microsoft publishes).
The original agreement didn't lead to a Windows Phone announcement itself, but we can't see Microsoft skipping over its mobile platform, especially when both Windows and Windows Phone are sharing code. The good news is we'll not be seeing lack of content from Nook Media, but it does look like the partnership will result in Microsoft releasing its own apps with Nook Media only providing access to some digital content.
Here's a snippet from the 8-K:
It's a rather confusing development, but we'll keep our eyes open for details surrounding these new apps from Microsoft.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.