The splashy ad on the Barnes & Noble (NYSE:
) website, says it all: "All New NOOK HD Tablets - now with over
700,000 Android apps & games." The NOOK, it seems, has gone
over to the dark side by providing access to the entire catalog
of Android apps on Google's (NASDAQ:
) Play online store.
It really had no choice. With a paltry 10,000 apps, the NOOK
has long been a lesser tablet among giants, like Amazon.com
) Play-connected Kindle and Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:
) iPad, sporting more than 300,000 apps.
In addition to the apps upgrade, Barnes & Noble is adding
services such as Gmail and Google Maps to its Nook HD tablets.
The company hopes to improve the competitiveness of the devices
according to a report in
The Wall Street Journal
The net gain for Barnes & Noble might make the Nook, which
comes in both a seven and nine-inch tablet size, more competitive
with Amazon's Kindle lineup. The downside, however, could result
in the Nook becoming a Kindle clone. This could be especially
true if users install Amazon's Kindle app and start downloading
Kindle titles as well as digital books from Google Play instead
of making their purchases from Barnes & Noble.
Disappointing holiday sales of Nook tablets led to the
decision to ramp up the app selection, according to William
Lynch, Barnes & Noble's chief executive. The company reported
in February that Nook revenue fell 26 percent for the quarter
ended Jan. 26.
As for that "downside" issue in the event Nook users install
the Kindle app, Lynch said, "We think readers will continue to
turn to us for reading, for their digital books and their digital
magazines." The statement might be more hopeful than
The move by Barnes & Noble comes at a time when
uncertainty about the company's future is growing. The bookstore
chain said in February that the company's largest shareholder,
Leonard Riggio, expressed interest in buying the retail stores,
leaving the Nook side of the business and the company's college
stores remaining with the company. Lynch Thursday declined to
discuss the situation.
Uncertain as things are for Barnes & Noble, for Google,
the move is a win and a big part of the company's effort to make
its services more commonplace on all mobile devices. Since Google
gets a cut of Android app and digital media sales through the
Google Play store, it almost certainly will share app store
revenue with Barnes & Noble.
Nook Color devices and Barnes & Noble's e-readers will not
be able to take advantage of the company's hook up with the
Google Play Store.
At mid morning Friday, Google shares are trading at $842.24,
up 1.5 percent; Barnes & Noble is up more than three percent
at $18.87, and Amazon is up just over two percent at $257.94.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in
any mentioned securities.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
Profit with More New & Research
. Gain access to a streaming platform with all the information
you need to invest better today.
Click here to start your 14 Day Trial of Benzinga