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Microsoft has already killed the Courier tablet

updated 04:35 pm EDT, Thu April 29, 2010

Leak has MS dropping dual-screen Courier

Microsoft has killed its Courier dual-screen tablet before it even became a real product, reports from within the company said. CEO Steve Ballmer told the Courier team on Wednesday that the project would "no longer be supported" even though it had never been made public. The reasons why hasn't been divulged to Gizmodo or any other source so far.

The Windows developer's Corporate Communications VP Frank Shaw unusually acknowledged that Courier was a Microsoft project and that there were no current plans to make it a production device.

"At any given time, we're looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, incubating them," Shaw said. "It's in our DNA to develop new form factors and natural user interfaces to foster productivity and creativity. The Courier project is an example of this type of effort. It will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time."

As it had been rumored until now, Courier would have used a dual-core Tegra and would have been targeted at professionals and students needing tools for note-taking and collaboration; it would have still had a heavy home user focus with an e-book reader as well as media playback. It would have shared the same .NET, Silverlight and XNA roots as Windows Phone 7 but in an interface designed for both the dual screens as well as a mix of finger and pen input.

The design had garnered interest from the community but would have faced an uphill battle against the iPad, whose sales in the first 10 days alone topped 500,000 units and have likely passed 1 million some time ago.

Several other third-party Android tablets are also in the works, and Courier would also have had to compete against the Windows 7-based HP slate. Whether Apple's tablet or any others had any direct effect on Courier's cancellation isn't known.

by MacNN Staff



  1. DiabloConQueso

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A nice, big spoon...

    ...and a bowl of crow to go with it to all the MS fans who bet the moon on this product.

    The Courier, to me, was always a super-ambitious project in my mind... maybe a tad TOO ambitious.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They sure are getting mooned by now

    The more I look at it, the more it seems like two white/blank pages with a big crack in the middle.

  1. chas_m





  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I like ambitious

    This was an idea from Microsoft that I thought was genuinely innovative. I wasn't entirely sure how they'd pull it off either....even with the obvious inspiration from the Franklin Covey Planner, they demo really gave a nice look into an interface, if it were real, that would have been genuinely intuitive and solved an old problem in a very new way.

    oh well...ashame for Microsoft. Boo hoo. I assume they really didn't know how to do it...mockups are a bit easier than real world. Perhaps they innovated themselves into a corner here.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969



    How do you kill something that never lived?

  1. sribe

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Perhaps they innovated themselves into a corner here."

    A mock-up is not innovation. Implementation is required.

  1. joecab

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Jobs' total Flash burn, Adobe's lame response, and now this ... this has been one big schadenfreude day for Mac users. I'm almost expecting to hear Gizmodo got criminal charges pressed against them today.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not real

    Indeed, nothing more than a mock-up, most of it could not even be implemented on a real device. Try writing that many text on a 7 inch screen, just impossible. The fingers juggling from stylus to touch is also ridiculous.

    But a lot of users want to see something innovation from MS and grasp on to anything, even a mock-up.

  1. oesterle

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Yes, I'm an Apple fanboy. My biggest beefs with Microsoft are overly complex UIs. But when you see them do something good, you have to encourage it.

    Courier was one of the most innovative and delightful user experiences that Microsoft has ever proposed. Watch the bit that leaked to Gizmodo last year:

    And here's another brilliant MS technology (so good that it's also probably doomed):

    My guess is that some other group(s) inside the company felt threatened by the Courier project, and politics killed innovation.

  1. Spacemoose

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Killed?

    Feathers: "How do you kill something that never lived?"

    More specifically, it was never delivered. The question becomes 'what do you call killing something that was never delivered?'

    I think we know what the answer to that is. The Courier could aptly be described as an abortion.

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