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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 tayb on 5/21/2011 9:17:33 PM , Rating: 2
Management says no because they look at a product, look at the costs associated with that product, and predict how many they will sell. There is a reason engineers don't run the company because sometimes things that are cool are not always things that are practical and/or make sense.

The Courier would not have sold well and would not have been a successful product. Dual screens would have killed battery life, killed performance, and sky rocketed the price way out of the e-reader/tablet market. It was a cool concept and I'm sure they learned a lot during R&D but it was not practical. It would not have performed well on the market and they would have ended up losing much more money then they already had.

Microsoft doesn't always kill new stuff. Take a look at Sync, Microsoft Surface, the Xbox, and the Zune before it was eventually killed off. These decisions are not phoned in. They are calculated business decisions and more often than not they are the right decisions. The Courier would have been a cool but extremely unsuccessful product.


RE: fools...
By tng on 5/26/2011 11:33:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Microsoft doesn't always kill new stuff. Take a look at Sync, Microsoft Surface, the Xbox, and the Zune before it was eventually killed off.
All initiated before Gates relinquished full control, I think.

Also I can think of as many reasons why the Courier would have been a success as you could have for it to not be. Two screens and battery life? Since it is twice the tablet it can have twice the battery, and with software where the user selects how many screens are on when dealing with certain jobs, battery life could be much longer than the average tablet.

Killed performance? Again, since it has twice theoretically space, it could leverage 2 lower capacity processors that would give it better speed on the same power, or a whole host of things that could be done to increase performance...

Price? Well given the MS position in business nowdays that could have been leveraged to sell this at a higher price to companies that could use this. Sales people on customer sites that need to do quick presentations, delivery, inventory people who need quick data and lots of it displayed on a larger format than a regular tablet... Whole bunch of things that MS could have pushed it toward.

I would push this as a tablet for professionals, where as the Ipad is great for reading books, playing games and updating Facebook.


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