When an article gives what it source says, and then says "in other words", and then gives the conclusion that is designed to generate hits, it bears re-reading to see whether "in other words" actually follows.
"According to inside sources, executives of the nation's biggest bookstore chain are considering 'a move away from its program to engineer and build its own devices and focus more on licensing its content to other device makers.' In other words, Nooks could disappear."
The key word here is "could". It doesn't stand for "probably means", but rather "could conceivably mean".
Those who have followed the development of the hardware understand that with the HD and HD+, B&N has a perfectly fine hardware platform that it can drive down the price ladder over the next two years. The Nook Color stumbled into a market niche that B&N was not targeting it at, and only stood out because nobody else had a device at that price point with those capabilities. The Nook Tablet hardware addressed some but not all of the rough edges of the Nook Color hardware. The Nook HD hardware addressed all of the remaining rough edges of the Nook Tablet hardware.
So it would make an awful lot of sense for B&N to reduce its emphasis on engineering new devices and increases its emphasis on getting its content onto other devices. If the Nook HD looks like it will be getting long in the tooth by XMas 2014, then in early 2014 sometime, B&N could let hardware tablet makers compete to provide it with the next Nook.