Microsoft is considering the purchase of Barnes & Noble’s Nook Media division (which also includes the chain’s college bookstores) for $1 billion, according to a report on TechCrunch that cites internal documents.  Those documents also reveal that Barnes & Noble plans to eliminate the Nook devices by the end of 2014, transitioning to a Nook app living on others’ platforms.   

Things are positioned will for such a transaction.  Microsoft already has a roughly 17% share in the Nook division and commitments for additional payments over the next few years, and B&N founder Leonard Riggio has indicated his interest in taking the bookstores and e-commerce division private (see "Barnes & Noble Break-up?").  And there’s motivation for B&N to do something with Nook, which is losing money hand over fist (see "Nook Sales Plummet").  With Nook owned by a technology company and the book retailing operations owned by a longtime bookseller, both divisions might be able to better focus on their core businesses. 

The share of Nook Media owned by Pearson (see "Pearson Invests in Nook") and what to do with the college bookstores would remain issues to be resolved.