Microsoft and Barnes & Noble Scaling Back E-Reading Plans

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have agreed to scale back their digital-reading partnership, which means that the bookseller will no longer develop its Nook e-reading app for Microsoft software.

After Microsoft ponied up hundreds of millions to keep Nook going, a range of Microsoft products using Barnes & Noble technology have long been expected. But according to the Wall Street Journal, Barnes & Noble will "stop work on apps for Windows 8 computers, phones and tablets, and support a possible Microsoft-created digital-reading service or app" instead.

It's perhaps no big surprise. Barnes & Noble recently laid off its Nook hardware engineering team in a drastic effort to make itself profitable; Microsoft's consumer-device strategy is increasingly focused on tablets and smartphones, not e-readers. The result is an abandonment of what would have always been a neat, rather than vital, project. Now, Nook will keep the cash that was ring fenced to develop Microsoft products—hell, it seems to need it—and continue to supply digital content for Microsoft. [WSJ]