What’s better on a Saturday morning than sleeping in, eating pancakes, and geeking out with some sensible speculation in tech? Not much, so if you supply the first two we’ll tell you more about the last part. Earlier in the week Microsoft announced a new joint venture with Barnes & Noble in regards to their Nook e-book service. In brief, the deal will result in a new subsidiary to manage the service, currently dubbed “NewCo”, plus Microsoft will possess a 17.6% stake in the subsidiary.
However, it appears this isn’t just a move to fatten up Microsoft’s bottom line. The SEC filing from Barnes & Noble about the new venture reveals quite a bit about what NewCo (aka the Nook firm) plans to do within Microsoft’s ecosystem and with Windows Phone especially. The press release already revealed that a Nook app for Windows 8 would be in progress, but according to the filing’s text it is also going to result in a new app for Windows Phone:
[...] NewCo will use good faith efforts to complete development, obtain certification and make localized versions of the NewCo Phone App in the same languages as the NewCo Windows App commercially available in the WP Marketplace. The NewCo Phone App will be provided at no cost to Windows Phone end users.
Later on in the text, the filing also confirms that the Windows Phone app would be allowed for distribution among phone manufacturers, which implies to us that the Nook app could come preinstalled in future Windows Phone versions. It also says that NewCo will be in charge of maintenance for the app, so it could be a separate entity that will handle the version for Windows Phone instead of Microsoft. Here’s one more nugget of info about the app — “[the NewCo phone app] will provide for in-app purchasing and will not link out of the NewCo Phone App to complete purchases of Content”.
That’s what spelled out on paper, but it’s also interesting to attempt to read between the lines which Microsoft guru Mary Jo Foley attempted to do earlier in the week. Pointing out that tracking stats from websites and apps are alleging that Windows Phone 8 could make use of an unorthodox square screen size (768×768), Foley pitches the theory that maybe the underlying OS is going to be reused as an e-reader operating system. It’s a zany idea for sure, but it does make some sense given the puzzle pieces we’ve been given so far. Any thoughts of your own?