1. Windows tablets get a huge new retail channel. They’ll get prominent display (physical and/or branding) in nearly 700 Barnes & Noble bookstores across the country. That’s in addition to Microsoft stores and all the other retailers that carry Windows devices.
2. Microsoft search and online services benefit from the alliance, which will federate millions of registered Nook users and book shoppers with Microsoft services.
3. Windows 8 gets a killer app and media cachet. Tablets are mostly for consuming content, and Microsoft had yet to announce any truly unique media apps for its upcoming tablets, leaving the device vulnerable to being branded as a dull machine for business users. A top-tier e-book platform complements the music and video services Microsoft has on tap and helps position the tablets as premium media devices.
4. The commerce potential of Windows 8 tablets soars. The most successful tablets are handheld stores. They’re designed to funnel people to vendors’ digital storefronts, where transactions are simple because devices are sync’d to credit accounts. Getting to this point has always been a hurdle for Microsoft’s Windows business. The Nook deal gives Windows 8 critical mass as a commerce platform.
5. This is way beyond competing with Amazon.com’s Kindle or any particular device. That was the Nook’s biggest competitor, but the bigger competition is between Microsoft, Google, Apple and Amazon over whose cloud platform will serve as consumers’ digital hub and online repository. Digital books and “print media” are a cornerstone here that Microsoft lacked.