Early this morning, Barnes & Noble has announced that it has resolved all longstanding litigation against Microsoft in regards to its Android-powered nook e-reader by confirming a new joint venture with the software giant. The agreement centers on Microsoft investing $300 million into the long-planned nook holding company spinoff that will be dedicated to the nook and collegiate textbook sales. This follows months of previous litigation between both companies in relation to claimed violations of patents that Microsoft claims to hold against Google’s operating system, which the company has previously used to extort millions of dollars in income from settlements.
With the announcement of the new joint venture and nook spinoff company currently branded under the placeholder NewCo, the speculation already centers on Barnes & Noble abandoning Android for its next nook e-reader in favor of a device running Windows 8, though such speculation is realistically being based on this agreement and has no actual evidence to support it. With Barnes & Noble’s current strategy being powered by its nook series and the popularity of the device with hackers and modders looking to have a cheap tablet, such a change at this point would affect the momentum the series has built up for both current owners and potential customers.
Microsoft will own 17.2 of the NewCo spinoff while Barnes & Noble will own the remaining 82% of the venture, with the first major result of the partnership being a Windows 8 Nook app and more specific details being revealed later today during a conference call for investors on the new venture.