Excitement Over B&N/Microsoft Teamup Is A Bit Premature
from the what exactly is the plan here? dept
There’s just something about when also-ran brands suddenly team up to try to “do something” that gets clueless people excited. It almost never works however. The latest is that Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have settled their (somewhat acrimonious) patent dispute (in which B&N was making the case that Microsoft violated antitrust law with its patents) in order to work together on a new spinoff company built around the Nook ebook platform. To be fair, lots of reviewers have raved about the Nook, and noted that it’s actually a better device than the Kindle. But actually getting the market to agree has been a pretty big challenge. Could Microsoft help? Perhaps, but these kinds of linkups don’t have much of a history of working well. In part, it’s because you have different parties with different priorities. In part, it’s because deals like this usually involved a lot more planning than executing. But, largely, it’s because these companies don’t really understand the market. At least, they seem to think that if they do a few superficial things up front, that will suddenly catapult them to the top. They may discover it’s a lot more difficult than that.
But, of course, that hasn’t stopped some from getting really excited about this. B&N stock shot upwards in response, though perhaps it was just because investors were happy that the company was able to “unload” the Nook. But, then, you see comments like this:
“With the new Windows rollout, there are so many things you can do with the Nook beyond e-reading,” Glickstein, who is based in New York, said today in a telephone interview. “Now that Bill Gates and Microsoft are in on the tech side, it’s absolutely compelling.”
Of course, you could do lots of things with the Nook beyond e-reading that have nothing to do with Windows. Tying the Android-based platform to anything having to do with Windows seems like a step backwards, not forward. Also, er, someone should tell this guy that Bill Gates retired four years ago. But, you know, why would anyone who’s in charge of analyzing these kinds of things be aware of little facts like that?