Next came Microsoft (MSFT), which invested $300 million into Barnes & Noble, or roughly an 18% stake in the Nook business. Barnes & Noble certainly had plenty of use for the cash. But does anyone really know what Microsoft received in this deal?
Last I checked, beyond the release of the Nook app for Windows 8, a significant portion of the Nook hardware is still being powered by Google's (GOOG) Android platform, not Windows. $300 million and an 18% stake still couldn't cut Google out.
Microsoft failed to offer any rationale for its investment. And the Nook business today is arguably worse off than when Microsoft first stepped in.
Look, there's no denying that Barnes & Noble still has some value. But beyond a best guess, no one really knows what that value is.
G Asset Management disagrees. But I haven't found any analyst today willing to bet her or his reputation on predicting Barnes and Noble's future. Not when Amazon is discussing drones.
Beyond placing the Nook in every cereal box or getting it to write a term paper, no one's going to be interested. And up to this point, the company's management has proven incapable of dictating its next great chapter.
Barnes & Noble investors deserve a novel idea. And this "new deal" isn't it.
At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL but held no positions in any of the other stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.