Microsoft and Barnes & Noble may have co-launched a digital NOOK business together, but the two firms say it’s still too soon for talk of Windows 8 on NOOK-branded tablets. Speaking on an investor call about the deal, Microsoft’s Andy Lees said neither company would be talking product roadmaps today, and pointed out that Microsoft has not done a teardown on the NOOK devices to see where they are in terms of Windows 8 requirements.
With NOOK running ARM chipsets, the version of the OS in question is presumably Windows RT, formerly known as Windows-on-ARM. Microsoft has been working with OEMs on minimum requirements, Lees confirmed, but based on previous indications none of B&N’s current designs would come up to scratch.
Lees was previously the head of Microsoft’s Windows Phone division, but was shifted from his role in December 2011 in what was later rumored to be an unofficial benching because of the smartphone platform’s struggle to achieve marketshare. At the time, however, Microsoft insisted that Lees was being moved so as to lead a “time-critical opportunity.”
“I have asked Andy Lees to move to a new role working for me on a time-critical opportunity focused on driving maximum impact in 2012 with Windows Phone and Windows 8,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wrote in a leaked internal memo. “We have tremendous potential with Windows Phone and Windows 8 and this move sets us up to really deliver against that potential.”
It now appears that Lees’ new role was bringing NOOK into the Windows family. Currently B&N’s ereaders run a heavily modified version of Android, but Microsoft has reportedly been looking into ereader hardware as another string in Windows 8’s bow.