Microsoft axed Courier tablet in favor of 'Windows Everywhere' strategy - report

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  • Reply 21 of 52
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post




    According to Greene, "there was not a single prototype that contained all of the attributes of the vision: the industrial design, the screen performance, the software experience, the correct weight, and the battery life," when the project was cancelled.



    "Those prototypes wouldn't have come together into a single unit until very late in the development process, perhaps weeks before manufacturing," he said, adding that the team was confident it was "moving quickly toward" a final prototype.




    Wait, what? Courier was a real product that got axed at the last minute, but they hadn't actually built anything that combined things like long battery life, low weight and performance into one unit?

    That means they didn't have a product. They had proof of concept prototypes, each of which favored a different metric.



    You don't just take a heavy but good battery life model, a well performing but big model, a nice screen but bad battery life model and bring them together "weeks before manufacturing." That's insane. If people who worked on the project are claiming that, they're indulging in a bit of "what if" speculation, pretending like if only mean old Bill hadn't cancelled their project it was about to congeal into something awesome.



    It sounds to me like they had gotten to the point that they knew what they wanted to bulid, and that they might have been able to pull together a shipping product, in a year or two, if they could have overcome a bunch of extremely difficult tradeoff problems-- the kind of problems that are notoriously hard to finesse and which turn happy visions of magic new products into deeply compromised reality.
  • Reply 22 of 52
    Sounds like they did the right thing to me. No email WTF? How can you have this kind of device without email.



    Also as a second platform that could work against windows it had to go. Nothing is above Windows and Office, quite simply because nothing willl ever be able to make the margin that Windows and Office make.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by d-range View Post


    This 'Windows Everywhere' strategy is going to kill Microsoft some day, if they don't start to realize fast that the world is moving away from Windows at breakneck speed. In the consumer space everything is going mobile, and in the business space web-based and cloud-based solutions are slowely but surely becoming viable alternatives to your typical Windows client with Office on it. And it's not just that, the incentive for companies to keep upgrading their hardware and software every 2 or three years is becoming smaller and smaller. Where I work (6000+ employees) everyone is still on Windows XP with Office 2008, and many are still working on 4 or 5 year old laptops. Not because they cannot get a newer machine, but because the old one fits their use case perfectly, and is still more than powerful enough to create some powerpoints or excel sheets.



    Microsoft has missed the boat, but they still don't realize it. It's almost tragic to see them struggle.



    No it's whats going to make them succeed. People are going mobile so Windows just has to go mobile to. Things started to go to the cloud, but are now ultimately going right back to apps. Plus if you think about iPad's that don't have a file system (exposed to the user) how exactly are you ever going to be able to upload files to your cloud based apps?



    The incentive for companies to keep upgrading hardware has been gone for the last 10 years, which is lucky Microsoft charge a yearly license to keep the revenue coming. However with things moving more mobile to smartphones and tablets, this creates a bigger incentive to keep upgrading. Just ask anyone that still has an iPhone 3G, these things don't last more than 3 years so there's no choice but to upgrade or spend ages waiting for the device to do anything.
  • Reply 23 of 52
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,584member
    [QUOTE=neiltc13;1979977]Quote:

    Originally Posted by FreeRange

    A perfect example of why Microsucks is such a joke and incapable of innovating. Building "third rate", buggy, bloated, over-priced products is their life.



    neiltc13 response:

    If you had actually used Microsoft's latest products (like Windows 7, Office 2010 and Windows Phone 7.5) you wouldn't be saying this.



    Quote:

    In the consumer space everything is going mobile, and in the business space web-based and cloud-based solutions are slowely but surely becoming viable alternatives to your typical Windows client with Office on it.



    neiltc13 response:

    Right, that's why Microsoft provides a web interface for Office and offers syncing of documents across all devices (desktop, laptop and phone, soon tablet as well). Remind me again how I get to the web interface where I can edit my iWork documents from iCloud?

    /QUOTE]



    @neiltc13 - You must be joking! I smell a troll. Let's talk about Vista, and the Kin phone, and maybe the xBox which has actually lost BILLIONS of dollars for MSFT. Or lets talk about that new Windows Phone 7 which has been a HUGE failure in the marketplace. It looks like it was designed by someone with attention deficit disorder and no one is buying it. Then lets talk about doing stuff in the cloud. I use both iCloud, and also dropbox which blows MSFT's offering out of the water. Why? Because its not MSFT!!!!! I also use google docs in the cloud when collaborating with my team. Enough said. MSFT is irrelevant in the mobile space and good F'n riddance. And I use MS Office but only when I have to because it still sucks big time. The perfect example of bloated, counter intuitive crap.
  • Reply 24 of 52
    I think they chose the right path.



    The courier was a niche product. It wouldn't have had much success and it would have hampered Microsoft's efforts in moving Windows toward more mobile devices.



    For Microsoft to have any success they need to leverage their existing platform, and that means bringing Windows to tablets.



    That said I think Sinofsky must have gonads like melons. To back himself and his team with the future of Windows and maybe even Microsoft resting on the result is a brave move.
  • Reply 25 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post


    I also use google docs in the cloud when collaborating with my team.



    My commiserations.
  • Reply 26 of 52
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by timgriff84 View Post


    Sounds like they did the right thing to me. No email WTF? How can you have this kind of device without email.



    That's where the whole story falls apart.



    If it was simply a matter of not having an email client, Gates would have said "You idiots, write an email client".
  • Reply 27 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    "Windows everywhere without compromise" is Microsoft's slogan yet Windows 8 tablets based on the ARM architecture will not run traditional x86 applications. It's time to ditch the slogan.



    In a sense running traditional x86 applications on an ARM tablet would be the biggest compromise, but that's probably a discussion for another day!
  • Reply 28 of 52
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post


    MS is, IMHO, very worried about the ipad killing the need for people to want a full fledge pc. Think about it. The ipad incorporates all the basic stuff the average person does on a pc but that stuff is packaged up in a neat, responsive unit. The screen is awesome as well as the underlying software. No viruses, no pop ups.... Nothing!



    Yup. You nailed it. My elderly dad is new to computers and about 2 years ago I gave him an HP Windows 7 laptop. All he wants to do is browse the web yet he gets confused by a steady stream of pop-up messages, software updates (java, PDF, etc), a virus that brought down the whole computer despite being "fully protected" by AVG, browser tool bars mysteriously appearing or disappearing, and the occasional accidental pressing of a tiny, evil button that deactivates wifi. His Christmas present will be an iPad.
  • Reply 29 of 52
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,570member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    That's where the whole story falls apart.



    If it was simply a matter of not having an email client, Gates would have said "You idiots, write an email client".



    Well, the really crazy part, if, for a moment, we assume the story is true, is that a product at Microsoft would be controlled by a "team" to the extent that upper management is only able to ship it or kill it. Can anyone imagine that happening at Apple? No. If something came out of the lab looking promising but lacking a few key features or having a few rough edges, the "team" would simply be told, "OK, here's what you're going to do to make this work..."



    So, if true, the whole story is a case in point illustrating exactly how dysfunctional Microsoft has become. We know they're dysfunctional based on what they've done in the last 10 years -- nothing -- and that lends this supporting story at least an air of plausibility, insane as it seems.
  • Reply 30 of 52
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post


    In a sense running traditional x86 applications on an ARM tablet would be the biggest compromise, but that's probably a discussion for another day!



    Good point! IMHO if it can't run x86 applications they shouldn't call their tablet OS "Windows." Call it Metro. Like Apple calls theirs iOS, not OSX.
  • Reply 31 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post


    Windows everywhere? What?



    The entire article is wrong.



    It was cancelled because it didn't align with current Microsoft and Office products. It also didn't have an email client.



    Er,,,, do you know how easy it would have been to add software to access email??? First by web, then directly? A pain but totally do-able.



    the key is that it was not Bill Gates way. It was not standard Microsoft Windows. So it did not fly.



    Just a thought,

    en
  • Reply 32 of 52
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,889member
    Lots of pundit types were madly in love with the Courier, particularly those with anti-Apple leanings. But Gates was right to kill it. The Courier struck me as the kind of thing that would have never made it further than a brainstorming session at Apple. The fact that the Courier got so far in the development process is a great example of why MS spends (wastes) so much more on R&D than Apple -- Apple is better at picking winners early in the development process. It's very expensive to take multiple projects as far as they took the Courier and then killing them.



    One challenge for Cook, who though seemingly much smarter than Balmer still isn't a "product guy", will be to continue Apple's track record of super efficient R&D budgets. My guess is that it just won't be possible and that Apple will have to end up spending more money to take ideas a bit further before killing them (I'm presuming it's easier to distinguish good ideas from bad ideas once they are fleshed out a bit more). I guess that's not so horrible -- Apple has plenty of money and there certainly could be lessons learned along the way that will have future applications.



    A big difference between Apple with Cook today and Apple with Jobs in 1997 is that Apple had no money and depended very heavily on Jobs making a lot of very good calls, very early in the product development stages. They just couldn't afford to make any mistakes. The tradeoff there was (1) high risk if Jobs made a mistake (as he sometimes did -- G4 Cube) and (2) not as much learning resulting from pursuing projects that ultimately didn't go anywhere (there can be much learned from such projects).



    Apple is going to become more of a "normal" company in some ways, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, so long as they are able to hold on to smart people, ultimately make good choices about which products to release (even if the R&D is a little more expensive), maintain high quality standards, and continue their outstanding operational efficiency.
  • Reply 33 of 52
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    Within the next five years from now, a "laptop" with two 10" or so screens ala Courier will be the hottest product out there.



    What's better than an iPad? Two of them, hinged in the middle.



    Cost? Easy peasy. An iPad starts at $499, a MacBook Air $999.



    Even if you took two entire iPads and just glued them together with a hinge That's less than the cost of a MacBook Air.



    By the end of 2012, the "Apple Courier" would be entirely possible at a $699 price point.



    Guess what Apple can do best? Turn this stuff into a real thing you'd want to use.



    And they've got the software to drive it. Hybrid iOS/OSX.











    Glass against glass? Yikes. Talk about scratches.
  • Reply 34 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post


    Glass against glass? Yikes. Talk about scratches.



    Yeah, those aren't very good concept designs. The Courier worked around that cleverly with a "lip" (chin? how else would you describe it?) that stuck out so each side would rest against that, not the other display.



    But I think even just a couple of foam pads on either side would do the trick, too.
  • Reply 35 of 52
    Or something that isn't even glass or where the coating never touches (the bezels touch).



    A-like this.



    Sorry, wider than I thought. Screws with the formatting.
  • Reply 36 of 52
    Put me down in the camp of right on killing the Courier. This is a product that could have been done somewhere else, but not Microsoft. M$ bet the farm on Windows years ago and is not about to detour now. The exception being Xbox which is a pure consumer product. Whether the Apple faithful like it or not Windows is by far the dominant OS in Business. That's why Apple made sure iOS could access Exchange. They (Apple) are still lacking when it comes to tools for deployment, security, and management of iOS devices. iTunes is fine for consumers, but doesn't really work for Corporate IT departments. I think Microsoft may be rushing Windows 8 to market since Corporate IT departments have still yet to fully deploy Windows 7. Perhaps 8 is focused on tablets initially. In any case, Microsoft is correct in making sure their tablet OS is fully integrated with Exchange and Office. Will it be anywhere near as elegant as MacOS or iOS? No. Will corporations (and consumers) buy it? Probably...
  • Reply 37 of 52
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post


    Glass against glass? Yikes. Talk about scratches.



    Nonsense. SImply have the frame stick up 1/32" on the top and bottom. Problem solved.
  • Reply 38 of 52
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    the Courier was a dog. another Kin. the two screen notebook format was DOA no matter what for multiple reasons. even Gates/Ballmer could see that. maybe they did it for the wrong reasons, but they were right to kill it.



    MS' Windows Everywhere strategy has morphed into laying a Metro front end on top of both CE and NT - two different OS' - with versions of Office for both and a unifying cloud back end of some kind. AND also offering a touch-friendly version of NT alone without Metro that is also backwards compatible without touch.



    the question is, how many current Windows users will be comfortable with that and transition to this next generation, and how many will find it confusing/too much and switch to other alternatives.
  • Reply 39 of 52
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by karmadave View Post


    Put me down in the camp of right on killing the Courier. This is a product that could have been done somewhere else, but not Microsoft. M$ bet the farm on Windows years ago and is not about to detour now. The exception being Xbox which is a pure consumer product. Whether the Apple faithful like it or not Windows is by far the dominant OS in Business. That's why Apple made sure iOS could access Exchange. They (Apple) are still lacking when it comes to tools for deployment, security, and management of iOS devices. iTunes is fine for consumers, but doesn't really work for Corporate IT departments. I think Microsoft may be rushing Windows 8 to market since Corporate IT departments have still yet to fully deploy Windows 7. Perhaps 8 is focused on tablets initially. In any case, Microsoft is correct in making sure their tablet OS is fully integrated with Exchange and Office. Will it be anywhere near as elegant as MacOS or iOS? No. Will corporations (and consumers) buy it? Probably...



    no, businesses are simply going to skip Windows 8, like they did with Vista. as you said, they are just now updating to W7. that will be the standard business OS for at least 5 years, like XP was. W8/Metro are really MS' efforts to hold on to the general consumer market instead. that is where it is losing market share now, and smartphones/tablets that make a PC unnecessary for many pose a huge threat.
  • Reply 40 of 52
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Based on the concept video and where W8 Metro UI is at right now there is no way the Courier could have been made in any reasonable timeframe. And HW-wise I don't think you could get any reasonable usage out of a device of any reasonable weight that needs to power 2x7" displays.
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