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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 Reclaimer77 on 5/20/2011 11:32:42 PM , Rating: -1
quote:
1. Employee will come up with great idea for new product.


Right off the bat you got it wrong. Low level employees aren't the ones paid to "come up" with ideas. Those ideas come from the top down, employees are the ones who's job is to make the idea a real and tangible product. All organizations are "top heavy" in this regard.

quote:
3. R&D goes to management and says "Look at this, we could possibly sell a million of these! This is the future!"


You mean like they did with the Zune?

quote:
4. Management says NO because there is no guarantee that they will sell a million and they don't want to be held accountable for a product failure.....


You mean like, again, they did with the Zune? There sure as hell was no guarantee it would make millions competing against the iPod. And even after years of the Zune line getting it's ass handed to it, it's still out there.

Lack of basic business understanding, and it getting rated to a 5, is nothing new here, however. Carry on.


RE: fools...
By tng on 5/21/2011 12:14:10 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Right off the bat you got it wrong. Low level employees aren't the ones paid to "come up" with ideas. Those ideas come from the top down, employees are the ones who's job is to make the idea a real and tangible product. All organizations are "top heavy" in this regard.

RC77, normally I would agree with you but in this case I my job takes me into some of the largest companies in the country. Many have dedicated R&D facilities that are there to come up with ideas.

For instance a 6 years ago a company I go to quite often came up a new type of medical scanner, took it all the way to a working unit and then went to upper management to get approval, and was shot down.....

Now company sales are way down due to the fact that one of their smaller rivals are cleaning their clocks with the exact same technology that they said would never make it years ago. They didn't even think it was worth filing patents on.

Management at the time said that the current medical scanning technology would dominate for the foreseeable future and they did not want to put the infrastructure in for a new line.....

I also know of other wonderful screwups by large companies for the same reasons, to risky, to expensive. A startup comes along and takes the risk with venture capital and away they go.


RE: fools...
By Cuhulin on 5/22/2011 2:22:43 AM , Rating: 2
RC77,

I think your number 1, that "Low level employees aren't the ones paid to "come up" with ideas" is dead wrong in any good organization. In a well run company, every employee is paid to make the company better -- and I've done both the three letter titles and the outside consulting to know it. As the OP stated, the problem is with the companies that don't take advantage of that, and Microsoft is a key example these days.

I don't know whether Courier should have gone ahead or not -- the cost concern was very real -- but the company shows every example of being a company that is too caught up in its management battles to be the success it should be. That's why Ballmer hasn't been able to move the stock price.

The simple fact is that Ballmer is a pretty good manager for a big business, definitely a good, maybe great COO. The enterprise expansions show that. What the company needs, though, is a new vision to pull the key pieces forward to the next decade, and that is just what Ballmer lacks.


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