Barnes and Noble confirms cuts to Nook division; hardware team still lives

Barnes and Noble's troubled Nook tablet and software division is laying off some of its staff members, although the bookseller is denying earlier reports that it is eliminating the hardware portion of its business entirely. 

TechCrunch received a statement from Barnes and Noble which said, in part:

As we’ve aligned NOOK’s cost structure with business realities, staffing levels in certain areas of our organization have changed, leading to some job eliminations. We’re not going to comment specifically on those eliminations.

The Nook GlowLight eReader is the latest hardware product from Barnes and Noble

The statement added that the company has recruited new talent to join the Nook management team and that the group is "focused on managing the business efficiently." This rather vague statement offers no clear cut direction on what Barnes and Noble really plans to do with the Nook division, which has performed poorly in the face of bigger competition, including Amazon's Kindle tablet and eReader efforts.

At one point, Barnes and Noble had plans to spin off the Nook tablet business into a separate company, with some help from Microsoft who invested $300 million in that project. However, the spin-off never happened and it looks like it never will, at least according to the plans Barnes and Noble may have had. We have contacted Microsoft to see if they wish to comment on the new Nook division cut backs and if the company is still planning to stick with its sizable investment.

Source: TechCrunch | Image via Barnes and Noble

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I'm still a big nook supporter. My HD+ is my only tablet and it's running wonderfully with CM 11. I am hoping for newer hardware, but not holding my breath. My next tablet will probably be a Surface 2. The nook app for Windows is fantastic. I have never found Amazon to have a better book selection, nor lower prices, and B&N's use of the epub format seals the deal. It's really a shame B&N is struggling. They have a great service and used to have better hardware at a better price. As a major book company I expected they would have dominated the market by now.

B&N must have realized that the Nook business is the only thing keeping them alive. For a while it was gaining traction, but their lack of updates to their apps and their follow-the-leader (Amazon) approach to the market has erased their progress.
My wife was a big Nook supporter, she got a first gen Nook color and used it all of the time. But Amazon's book selection and much lower per-book price overcame her fandom, and this Christmas she asked for a Kindle. Now her Nook sits by the bed gathering dust.

MS never wanted a Windows powered Nook that people thought would happen when they invested in them. With the newest news of a new Xbox Reader app being in the works, this $300 million investment makes sense, it was for content, books, magazines and especially school related content is the last nit of "media" MS was lacking in their ecosystem.

Since it's clear Xbox is the new entertainment brand with games, music and videos, adding books is a logical next step for them.