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Old 02-10-2014, 12:42 PM   #1
afv011
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Barnes & Noble Fired Its Nook Engineering Staff

"Barnes & Noble laid off its Nook hardware engineers, according to a source that tipped Business Insider.
The engineers were let go last Thursday, according to our source. This follows Barnes & Noble dismissing the VP of Hardware, Bill Saperstein in January."

Source

[EDIT]Later info says it's wasn't the hardware engineers.[/EDIT]

Last edited by pdurrant; 02-10-2014 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:57 PM   #2
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:05 PM   #3
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Update...

http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/10/53...ering-division

Quote:
A Barnes & Noble representative confirmed with The Verge that job eliminations had taken place, but hardware staff in Palo Alto had not been affected. The headline has been clarified to express that fact.
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:23 PM   #4
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I doubt anybody can say they are surprised, BN were once ahead of the curve but didn't push forward while they enjoyed that advantage, and they've now fallen way behind everybody else. It's a shame for the people that lost their jobs, but the writing was on the wall.
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:00 PM   #5
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Definitely a shake up in the Nook division (even with the correction concerning the engineers). Whether they believe themselves to have been or not, Barnes and Noble hasn't felt "all in" with their devices for quite some time.
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:00 PM   #6
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From the source:

Quote:
Update: After posting this, Barnes & Noble told us that it did not eliminate its entire hardware department, but it declined to provide specifics.
This is a pretty big story. Specifics might be necessary.

Even if a fraction of the Nook engineering team was laid off, that could mean parts of the product line are getting pushed off to the side. This is a very complex matter.
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:43 PM   #7
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Well, it sounds like the end is Nigh. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by afv011 View Post
"Barnes & Noble laid off its Nook hardware engineers, according to a source that tipped Business Insider.
The engineers were let go last Thursday, according to our source. This follows Barnes & Noble dismissing the VP of Hardware, Bill Saperstein in January."

Source

[EDIT]Later info says it's wasn't the hardware engineers.[/EDIT]
Yahoo financials reports a similar story:
http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/break...183424551.html

Let's see, that leaves Amazon, Kobo, and to a less committed extent, Apple, and Google's minions. Have I left anyone of hardware significance out? does anyone know if Kobo has a cough?
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by GlenBarrington View Post
Yahoo financials reports a similar story:
http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/break...183424551.html

Let's see, that leaves Amazon, Kobo, and to a less committed extent, Apple, and Google's minions. Have I left anyone of hardware significance out? does anyone know if Kobo has a cough?
Yahoo Financials' report is just another link to Business Insider.

Let's wait for some more details on this vagueness until we say B&N is entirely out of the picture. This could simply mean B&N intends to shut down one part of its digital presence, or slow down its release schedule. Or it could be something very well different.
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:37 PM   #9
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Aren't the layoffs expected? I thought they were getting rid of their Nook tablet inhouse development?
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:43 PM   #10
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Aren't the layoffs expected? I thought they were getting rid of their Nook tablet inhouse development?
That was rumoured months ago, but AFAIK it was neither confirmed nor denied by BN that they were abandoning the in-house development. But given the lacklustre performance over the holiday season, it looked like layoffs were inevitable.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:32 PM   #11
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That was rumoured months ago, but AFAIK it was neither confirmed nor denied by BN that they were abandoning the in-house development. But given the lacklustre performance over the holiday season, it looked like layoffs were inevitable.
No surprise here that there were lack lustre sales.
I would not buy (as a new to the brand user) from a company with a history of last gasps. New users want SUPPORT to be there when they need it.

If I was a current nook user: Goody! Fire sale prices

My current Astak was bought at 25cents on the original dollar, but honestly, I would rather had them still in the reader business.
Feature competition is good.
Price is only a consideration. Just look at Apple: Expensive, but they still SELL. They have features some folk are willing to pay $$ for.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:07 AM   #12
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I doubt anybody can say they are surprised, BN were once ahead of the curve but didn't push forward while they enjoyed that advantage, and they've now fallen way behind everybody else. It's a shame for the people that lost their jobs, but the writing was on the wall.
When was BN ahead of the curve?

The color, touch screen window went away pretty fast. Probably because it was as unnecessary as it sounded.

It got the glolight out first but Kobo had something similar out fast and Amazon was not too far behind. Sony had tried something similar a few years earlier but it didn't work. So not exactly cutting edge and something that clearly Kobo and Amazon were working on at the same time.

There was the Nook Color/Tablet which was ok but not strong enough to compete with a real tablet. It took Amazon a while to follow up with the Fire but at least that was a full scale tablet that could challenge the other tablets and iPad.

Amazon had an SD card in the K1 but got rid of it because it proved to be problematic and people seemed to be fine without it. BN kept the SD card which made a small percentage of e-reader users happy.

I can see the tablet as being ahead of the curve but without enough vision to make it actually work. Or maybe it was without enough marketing. Probably a combination of the two. It wasn't powerful enough to compete with the other tablets on the mrket when it was released and wasn't marketed so people didn't know that it was an option.

The rest, some gimics that didn't really take hold (color touch screen), a bit ahead of the others but not exactly cutting edge (glolight), and things that were nice but had been dropped by Amazon (SD Card).

BN's big problem was that its bookstore was always a step behind Amazon, its customer service was a notch or two behind Amazon, it was a US based machine only, and it had very limited marketing.

Amazon had the Kindle on the front page of its website for how long? Heck, it is still there on a regular basis. It ran ads on a regular basis and has not copied the PC/MAC commercial format with the Fire/iPad.

Essentially, BN entered the market late and did little to nothing to actually challenge Amazon with the masses. Yes, they challenged Amazon on this board but that is because people here know about DRM, EPub vs Mobi, and have enough books to want an SD card slot. The average Joe doesn't know about DRM, doesn't know about EPub vs Mobi, and doesn't have enough books to care about an SD slot.

BN made no real effort to challenge Amazon internationally, were they could have had some success because the international market was more EPub centric and would have embraced an e-reader that was less expensive then a Sony and read EPubs. The Nook existed before the Kobo but was beat by the Kobo outside the US because the Nook was not an international device. BN just went international at the end of last year as they were shutting down the tablets and it was clear that they had no chance in hell of competing in the US. That is a good 4-5 years after Amazon went international and 3 years or so after Kobo really got into the game.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:12 PM   #13
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When was BN ahead of the curve?
The Nook Color was ahead of the curve, I don't think there's any doubt there. They had about 1 year of free reign while Amazon scrambled to come out with something that could compete with the Color. There were other tablets out there, but there were more expensive, the Color was the right tablet at the right time, but BN didn't follow through, the Nook Tablet was a poor update to the Color, and the locked down store was another bad decision.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:22 PM   #14
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The Nook Color was ahead of the curve, I don't think there's any doubt there. They had about 1 year of free reign while Amazon scrambled to come out with something that could compete with the Color. There were other tablets out there, but there were more expensive, the Color was the right tablet at the right time, but BN didn't follow through, the Nook Tablet was a poor update to the Color, and the locked down store was another bad decision.
Yes. The Nook Color was my first Android tablet, and at the time it was a good deal. The Nook Tablet was merely an incremental update, and after that they were playing catchup.

I felt that the lack of a 4:3 screen was a shortcoming for a device intended as a reader, as well.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afv011 View Post
The Nook Color was ahead of the curve, I don't think there's any doubt there. They had about 1 year of free reign while Amazon scrambled to come out with something that could compete with the Color. There were other tablets out there, but there were more expensive, the Color was the right tablet at the right time, but BN didn't follow through, the Nook Tablet was a poor update to the Color, and the locked down store was another bad decision.
Technically.
But since Amazon sold more Fires in one week than Nook sold NCs in that whole year (25-35k) that lead wasn't all that significant.

Of course, one could also argue that Nook was just copying Pandigital in selling underpowered Android tablets as ebook readers. (And at its peak Pandigital sold a lot more than 35k units per year.)

A more realistic assessment of Nook hardware performance would be to say they have spent most of their 5 years in the business behind the curve and made some misguided/ill-timed efforts to leapfrog Amazon that have produced mixed results; usually getting more headlines than sales.

Note that they came to market two years after Kindle, almost missing the 2009 holiday season with their late november launch and losing a lot of sales because of the buggy software. Then they were almost a year behind in Pearl screen deployment and kept launching new product in the spring instead of the fall, with most other reader and tablet products, which meant their 6 month "old" readers kept going up against "new and improved" during the critical holiday shopping season. Which is how they ended up with the crippling ST "underperformance".

The hardware per se was rarely at fault but the way it was managed showed a lack of understanding of the business that kept it from selling as well as it should've. And the story on the ebook side was no better.
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