After spinning off its e-book division into a separate company last fall, bookseller Barnes & Noble may soon unload troubled Nook altogether to Microsoft.
According to an internal document obtained by the website, Microsoft has offered $1 billion (UK£64.8 million, AU$99.4 million) to buy out the joint venture, co-owned by Barnes & Noble and other investors.
Since its spinoff last fall, Nook has been on the decline with a 26 percent year-over-year drop in the holiday quarter, immediately sparking rumors that B&N could buy back the company or even ditch hardware entirely.
Shift to Windows?
As part of the reported Microsoft buyout, existing Android-based Nook hardware would be phased out by end of the 2014 fiscal year in favor of app distribution through "third-party partner" devices.
Nook already has a solid presence on Windows, iOS and Android as well as having sold 10 million tablets and e-readers sold to date, so it's unclear if Microsoft's offer suggests a push to Windows 8-powered hardware or devices made by others.
Microsoft already has a 16.8 percent stake in Nook Media following a $300 million (UK£19.4 million, AU$28.8 million) investment made in last April, with $180 million (UK£11.6 million, AU$17.8 million) earmarked for Nook Windows 8 software development.
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