As much as I am over the fact that Apple seems to dominate the North American Tablet and Smartphone space, I must say that the latest move by Microsoft is both ingenious and scary at the same time. At a time when companies truly are struggling to make every dollar count, they have decided to “buy” their way into the tablet space.
Microsoft announced yesterday that they would invest $300 million in the company that builds the Barnes & Noble Nook. At its face this is a brilliant idea, invest in a proven product and get your OS onto the next generation of hardware. This will be a new company that is spun off and become a joint venture. Now because this becomes something completely new…will this mean that MicroNoble spinoff start marketing tablets to oh I don’t know…EVERY COMPANY WITH A FEW EXTRA BUCKS?
Could you imagine walking into your favourite consumer electronics store…the tablet space has the revered iPad spot and then hidden in the corner are the plethora of Android Tablets but now there will be a Facebook Tablet, a Coca Cola Tablet, a Disney Tablet and the list goes on and on.
Yes I will admit that there is a bit of doom and gloom in this message but come on…this is what Microsoft has historically done…if you can’t beat them acquire them…unfortunately for Microsoft…Apple has grown far to large for them to use this strategy and going head to head with Google would result in not only a bloodied nose but probably a more than a few more embarrassing images of Steve Balmer ranting like a mad man.
So hitting the edges and looking for companies with a solid hardware platform like the Nook line of eReaders is a smart move on Microsoft’s part. Can putting Windows 8 on a Nook Tablet be enough to get Window 8 into the hands of consumers…if they can keep the price the same as the current Nook line up…they have a shot especially in the entry level tablet space…is there a need for a 10 inch full featured Nook running Windows…no thanks I will pass.
It is an interesting play though, I wonder who is next?
Chris J Powell