Will Microsoft buy Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablet business?

A number of analysts apparently believe Microsoft may snap up Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablet business after the latter company’s CEO announced his plans to depart the struggling corporation amidst plans to restructure.

As you may recall, B&N only recently confirmed that it would be ditching the hardware element of its tablet business by allowing third-parties to build future Nook devices.

As AppleInsider’s Sam Oliver notes, the Nook lineup utterly failed to compete with Apple’s wildly popular iPad, Amazon’s (Android) Kindle Fire and others.

“Last year, Microsoft invested $300 million into Barnes & Noble’s Nook business. At the time it was believed the investment could pave the way for a new spin-off company,” Oliver explained.

“But with the departure of Lynch, Barnes & Noble has not opted to name a new CEO. Instead, Chief Financial officer Michael P. Huseby has been named chief executive of the Nook division and president of Barnes & Noble — both of which are new titles for the company.”

It should be noted that Microsoft currently claims a 17.6 percent stake in B&N’s Nook business, although Redmond is also busy promoting its own Windows 8-powered Surface tablet.