So often in the tech industry, industry pundits make predictions and get things dead wrong. But Nat Burgess, president of Seattle area M&A shop Corum Group, certainly was on the right track earlier this year when he went on CNBC and suggested that Microsoft should consider buying Barnes & Noble.
“Just a thought. But if Microsoft came in and picked up Barnes & Noble … they would have instant retail presence in all of the major malls in America,” said Burgess at the time. “They would have a rapid base of readers. They could put Windows 8 in the next-generation Nook…. You asked me to talk about the deals I want to see. Not the ones that are the most likely. But that could be a very interesting one.”
Not too shabby of a prediction considering that Microsoft on Monday announced a $300 million investment in Barnes & Noble’s Nook unit, part of a strategy to give the company’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system a jumpstart in the tablet market. Microsoft is not investing in the physical retail portion of the bookseller, but the new investment values the digital book unit at a whopping $1.7 billion.
Here’s what we wrote after hearing Burgess’ remarks earlier this year.
Now, that could get really interesting if Microsoft jumped into the e-reader business as a direct rival to Seattle’s Amazon.com. It would also be an interesting way to avoid the Android litigation. Stranger things have happened.
Maybe someone in Redmond was listening.
Here’s the CNBC video where Burgess first tossed out the idea of a Microsoft-Barnes & Noble alliance: