There's just something about when also-ran brands suddenly team up to try to "do something" that gets clueless people excited. It almost never works however. The latest is that Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have settled their (somewhat acrimonious) patent dispute
(in which B&N was making the case that Microsoft violated antitrust law with its patents) in order to work together on a new spinoff company
built around the Nook ebook platform. To be fair, lots of reviewers have raved about the Nook, and noted that it's actually a better device than the Kindle. But actually getting the market to agree has been a pretty big challenge. Could Microsoft help? Perhaps, but these kinds of linkups don't have much of a history of working well. In part, it's because you have different parties with different priorities. In part, it's because deals like this usually involved a lot more planning than executing. But, largely, it's because these companies don't really understand the market. At least, they seem to think that if they do a few superficial things up front, that will suddenly catapult them to the top. They may discover it's a lot more difficult than that.
But, of course, that hasn't stopped some from getting really excited about this. B&N stock shot upwards in response
, though perhaps it was just because investors were happy that the company was able to "unload" the Nook. But, then, you see comments like this:
"With the new Windows rollout, there are so many things you can do with the Nook beyond e-reading," Glickstein, who is based in New York, said today in a telephone interview. "Now that Bill Gates and Microsoft are in on the tech side, it’s absolutely compelling."
Of course, you could do lots of things with the Nook beyond e-reading that have nothing to do with Windows. Tying the Android-based platform to anything having to do with Windows seems like a step backwards, not forward. Also, er, someone should tell this guy that Bill Gates retired four years ago
. But, you know, why would anyone who's in charge of analyzing these kinds of things be aware of little facts like that?