I looked at the Nook last year; it didn't make me abandon my Kindle, but it did give me pause. What if Barnes & Noble can't make the thing popular enough to save the company? Well, that turned out to be the case:
This is a move designed to separate the Nook from the Barnes & Noble company in order to allow people to separate it in their minds and use it as a device that doesn't rely solely on their content; what comes next is a fully open and flexible solution for the Nook so that people can read Kindle books on it and everything else. That's really the only thing that might possibly save the thing from obscurity. It needs to be a standalone product.
Why did Barnes & Noble get into the hardware business in the first place? Confusion. And so, they're going to exit that business and look for a way to survive on the strength of their digital catalog. There is so much confusion in the tablet/e-reader world that no one really knows how this business is going to develop. It will come down to whoever can make a device that can read everything, play with everyone, and cost next to nothing.
People have been looking for a way around having to deal solely with Barnes & Noble for two years now; who didn't see this coming?