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Microsoft Courier tablet is dead.
Pioneer Studios offices closed and employees scattered

A year after Microsoft killed the much-anticipated Courier tablet project, PC World reports that the entire team responsible for the project, Pioneer Studios, has disbanded.

Although Courier was never an official Microsoft product, the design and concept behind the dual-screen hinged tablet garnered a lot of enthusiasm. (Note: Sony is expected to launch a tablet with a similar form factor in the near future.)

Pioneer Studios' Seattle office closed a year after J Allard, a former top designer at Microsoft credited with founding Pioneer, left the company. Pioneer cofounder, George Petschnigg, is now listed as an "entrepreneur" working on an "undisclosed new venture" on his LinkedIn profile. He was instrumental in securing $20 million in development funding for the now dead Courier. According to a PC World, he is now at Microsoft's Startup Business Group. 

Other Pioneer Studios employees have also reportedly left the company or have joined other groups, notably the Startup Business Group.

In addition to Pioneer, Microsoft has a number of other incubation groups, including FUSE Labs, the Garage, and the Hardware Incubation Lab.

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RE: fools...
By melgross on 5/20/2011 11:41:44 AM , Rating: 2
This thing would have cost upwards of $1,000, maybe a lot upwards. Dual 7" screens, and all of that complexity? Likely not very sellable.

Guys, much is being made of this product, but what was it, really? It was a product based on CE, like their phones, with yet another UI. It would have no software available upon introduction. We see how successful devices are when that happens. We also see how successful devices are when they cost more than the iPad. The Acer is reportedly doing well only because it's cheap.

While it's sad that the team is gone, it's to be expected. They now have no purpose since their entire purpose was the Courier.

RE: fools...
By mkrech on 5/20/2011 1:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
My understanding was the concept was all just that... a concept.

I never heard any official statement that it would be based on CE. I agree, that would be a foolish plan.

The hardware cost is not the issue. It would be competitive against any similar product.

The UI is the differentiating factor. To that end, if a functioning UI could be built on an OS that allows development of simple cloud based apps, this would exceed the hype and likely be a pivotal component of the MS cloud strategy.

Personally, I think the UI components of this concept will start appearing (individually or all together) in the near future. We will just have to wait to see if they come out of MS or from someone else...

RE: fools...
By TakinYourPoints on 5/20/2011 4:29:06 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it was just a concept animation. If people are going to get excited over internal marketing pitches, great, but I'd rather see an actual product before making any judgement.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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