With Microsoft putting $300,000,000 into Barnes and Noble's Nook business, the Windows 8 maker just bought itself something that could come in handy with that whole iPad killer strategy it's got going on. The investment actually secured a few useful things for the company: books and publishers and a tablet (all things Microsoft does not yet have) which will help all sorts of Windows 8 devices draw those who would otherwise go to Amazon's Kindle Fire for its giant library of reads or others who would head to Apple for its pretty OS. Microsoft has already indicated its integration plans, describing a Nook application in the Windows 8 app store as "one of the first benefits for customers" in its press release this morning. We expect Microsoft will announce more of these Nook related "customer benefits" for its Windows 8 users as the release date approaches.
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Since Microsoft introduced its supposed comeback system to developers last September, it has gotten a lot of talk as "an iPad killer." Beyond the interface, which developers say looks and feels hip and fresh and all those other things an operating system would need to "kill" Apple's dominance, the real benefit of Windows 8 is its cross-device integration. That means PC power on a tablet. Unlike Apple, which has separate OS's for its computers and more portable devices, Microsoft's Windows 8 will run on its phones and future tablets -- incentive for users to purchase Windows 8 everything. (Compatibility makes technology easier!) People already do most of their e-reading on PCs, found a recent Pew study. And most computer users still use PCs, with OS statistics showing the Windows family with over 80 percent of the market. Putting the Nook app on those already popular eReading hubs makes it all the more attractive to buy a Nook or Nook compatible eReader.
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And with this Nook purchase, the Windows 8 mystery iPad killing tablet device of the future will have access to lots of content -- which is essential to success, as Amazon showed, with its Kindle Fire content first strategy. With what many reviewers called a kind of shoddy device, Amazon managed to make its way to the top of the Android tablet market, with its cheapo price tag and big giant library of stuff. Apple might not have Amazon's big library, but it has iBooks as well as an App store, where one can access the Kindle app, for example. And, it's also the user favorite. This new Nook-Microsoft relationship takes the Amazon strategy and could put it on something as beautiful and more powerful as the iPad.
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As of now, the Nook isn't at all a Microsoft product, running on a version of Google's Android operating system. Some of the tech talkers suspect Microsoft will take this device and turn it into its own Windows 8 hardware. It could also just make its own Windows made device, where we'll see that Nook application, full of those book goodies. Either way, if Windows really plans on damaging Apple's popularity, having stuff to sell will help.