In a somewhat curious move, Microsoft is making a $300 million dollar investment into Barnes & Noble’s Nook digital-book business.

This new move will give Microsoft a 17.6% stake in the Nook-side of the business and will cement a deal that includes Nook integration and an app into Windows 8. Last year Microsoft sued B&N over patent issues, and now they are investing heavily in them? The business world is odd sometimes.

From the sounds of it, under the new move Barnes and Noble’s Nook division may be splitting into a separate subsidiary from the company’s traditional bookstore business.

We already saw a Kindle app within Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and Kindle is arguably more popular than Nook, still I think this was a wise investment on Microsoft’s part. Having a bigger hand in the digital-book industry can further set Microsoft tablets apart. I’m sure that buying such a big hand in Amazon would have been much more expensive, as well.

Between the new Xbox-branded music service (which will exist in Metro) and the new Nook-based app, Windows 8 is already doing a very good job at laying a solid foundation of base apps that will make the device look appealing from day one. I’m also curious if we will see a Windows 8-based B&N device sometime in the future, in similar veins to the Android-based Nook line or even the Kindle Fire.

This would be an interesting move, though I don’t know if MS would allow the kind of shell customization that would be needed for this.

Though Microsoft hasn’t confirmed that a Nook app will be ready for the June release preview, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if we get our first look at it than. I’m curious if the app will just focus on Metro or will have a desktop variant as well for x86 devices?

What do you think of these move on Microsoft’s part?

Share your thoughts below.

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  • Peter Paul

    That is totally logic. All stand-alone devices reducing theirs revenues – except of e-book reader. When Windows gets deeper into the e-book reader market and gets an perfect integrated app for their mobile OS plattform. It is a win-win situation for both companies and of course their consumer.

  • NazmusLabs

    Mary Jo Foley reports that MS and B&N will possibly work to make NOOK running on the new Windows Embedded OS. The new Embeded OS features the metro UI and is heavily customizable for specefic device. Interesting thought, huh?

    • Andrew_Grush

       That would make a good deal of sense. WIndows Embedded has always been a more customisable route, obviously.