Barnes and Noble’s Microsoft deal is a mistake
I read with alarm the news today that Microsoft was making an investment in Barnes and Noble and the ridiculous patent lawsuits were going away.
This news is of particular interest to me because I found out a few days ago that B&N finally decided to allow non-US developers to release apps on Nook back in November last year. I signed up to their developer program and was investigating the implications of getting a US tax id, which is the method that B&N use to allow foreign developers to sell apps.
With the news of the Microsoft deal, I now wonder if it’s worth bothering.
I am unaware of any company that has accepted a significant joint-venture type investment from Microsoft that hasn’t ended up being ransacked or trashed because of it.
Two recent examples include the stealth takeover of Nokia and Yahoo, both of which have been crippled by business decisions that have been made after “former” Microsoft execs entered their respective boards. Yahoo continues to lose market share to Bing after their board decided to shut down the search engine R&D department following a Microsoft investment, while we all know about Stephen Elop’s bizarre decision to publicly trash Nokia’s major bread-winner in his infamous burning platform memo.
Given Microsoft’s history, I have to wonder how long it will be before we hear that Microsoft execs have begun taking up positions on B&N’s board, followed by a decision to drop Android and switch to Windows 8 for ARM.
I believe the real winner from this deal will be Amazon because Microsoft’s self-interest will not do B&N’s business any good at all.