Microsoft continues to package IE with Windows, something that has gotten it into hot water with antitrust regulators. In the 1990s, Microsoft faced off against the U.S. government in a landmark case, which initially revolved around IE's integration. More than a decade later, European Union officials forced Microsoft to give EU citizens a way to choose a different browser.
Amazon has already created a Metro Kindle app for Windows 8 and Windows RT.
Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, believes that Microsoft will not bundle the Nook app with Windows 8 or Windows RT, but not because of antitrust fears. "The toughest thing facing Windows 8 [and Windows RT] is a lack of apps," said Cherry. "They're betting that people will write Metro [apps]...and Microsoft will want to present a level playing field."
Not for customers, perhaps, but certainly for developers.
Cherry argued that by embedding the Nook app in Windows 8 and Windows RT, Microsoft would send the wrong message to developers, that the playing field is, in fact, not level.
Cherry admitted to buying digital books from a trio of outlets -- Amazon's Kindle store, Apple's iBooks store and the one operated by the Canadian company Kobo -- and often shopped for the best price on each. "It's important that Windows 8 have all the [e-book stores] from the beginning," said Cherry, arguing that because e-reading is one of the prime uses of tablets, anything else would be seen as a weakness when Microsoft is playing catch-up with Amazon and Apple.
Amazon and Kobo each have already created a Metro app for Windows 8 and Windows RT; the programs are currently available in the beta of the Windows Store. There's nothing preventing them from pulling out, however, if they saw that the Nook was pre-loaded in Windows 8 and Windows RT.
The next major milestone for Windows 8, dubbed Windows 8 Release Preview, may answer questions about the Nook app's place in the ecosystem. The Release Preview will debut the first week of June.
Barnes & Noble's filing yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed a few more tidbits about the Windows 8 angle to the deal. Although in one section of the filing, Barnes & Noble said NewCo would develop "a Windows 8 application for e-reading and digital content purchases," elsewhere the singular "application" morphed to the plural.
"NewCo will develop certain applications [emphasis added] for Windows 8 for purchasing and consumption of digital reading content," the Form 8-K stated.