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:
"Pursuant to the Amendment, NOOK Media LLC (“NOOK Media”) and Microsoft agreed to co-branding within the Microsoft Consumer Reader for reading content delivered by NOOK Media. The Amendment also provided that subject to certain conditions NOOK Media would be permitted to discontinue distributing the NOOK Windows app and will cooperate in good faith with Microsoft to transition users to the Microsoft Consumer Reader. Microsoft and NOOK Media also agreed to updated revenue sharing to address this possibility. The Amendment also permits NOOK Media to cease efforts with respect to a Windows phone app."
It's a rather confusing development, but we'll keep our eyes open for details surrounding these new apps from Microsoft.