The inside story of how Microsoft killed its Courier tablet

By | 28/08/2022

This is ane of those stories in which the facts are construed to fit the conventional wisdom regarding Microsoft, e.k. no mention of WP7 which was appear and previewed in the quarter immediately prior to the Courier’s cancellation, no mention of the investment Microsoft made in development of the Metro interface, and of course no mention of the manufacturing costs inherent in a dual screen device or the energy such a device would consume with mainstream engineering science.

Instead, there is the criticism that Microsoft is not enough like Apple (and a focus on personalities).

When manufacturers don’t meet a way to build and sell dual screen tablets at a profit, Microsoft won’t sell much of the software to run them. It is not as if Microsoft doesn’t have the enough experience as a hardware provider to evaluate the economics of going it alone versus partnering with the electronics industry. And partnering with the electronics industry rather than competing as a manufacturer has – with the exception of the XBOX in a market dominated by proprietary hardware – been a highly successful grade.

Finally, it is not every bit if the design decisions underlying the courier are dead – a feasible dual screen tablet is still as plausible today every bit it was when the iPad started shipping and there is no reason such a device could non run with a Metro interface or that the applied science developed as part of the Courier projection could not be incorporated.

What was killed was a project which required forking the Windows roadmap in ways analogous to past Microsoft decisions and which led to Windows Mobile condign a expressionless cease overnight – never heed that a mobile device without electronic mail probably would accept been stillborn.

Y’all raise some good points hither. I call up ultimately it’s clear that as cool as the Courier may have been, a “real” Windows tablet like the Win 8 Metro that’s been previewed is the product Microsoft can really build around.

In a perfect world, we’d have both devices, but there’s an enormous danger in releasing an interim niche product before your existent production arrived — for instance, the printing surrounding the Kin telephone was devastating, and almost certainly hurt the release of WinPhone vii. Fifty-fifty if the Courier turned out to be a success, it could take confused the marketplace.

Information technology’southward often said that 1 of Steve Jobs’ greatest force was his willingness to kill products before the light of day unless they were the correct products and they were good enough. It’south interesting that Ballmer leaned on Gates to make this decision, simply I remember Gates’south determination was the correct 1 for Microsoft.

Jobs could impale projects that way because Apple doesn’t rely on partnerships in the way Microsoft does. In other words, in planning for the iPad launch Apple could call up Samsung and enquire “Can you evangelize 2m fries per calendar month?” Conversely, Microsoft has to show Micheal Dell the Courier and ask, “Do yous want to build these, and if and then, when, and how many practice you think it will have to exist profitable, what sort of battery would you lot use, etc.?”

Considering of this, Microsoft has to exist willing to fail somewhat publicly. Because of their size, Microsoft volition have failures that sound big – but really, on a corporate scale, 130 people on a project that gets cancelled isn’t very many.

I concur that lack of email is mad. But how big a decision can this be? If it can run programs, information technology can run an mail client. Even an exchange client. “information technology won’t have an email client” is not part of the hardware blueprint, it’s simply that the software hasn’t been written/ported yet.

sometimes I wonder if MS’southward substitution has got so complicated that they could non contemplate writing a new client from scratch.

Also, while talking about updates, the commodity freely conflates hardware and software updates past comparing the release of the iPad 3 to a Windows upgrade. There’s nothing stopping the tablet OEMs from releasing new hardware at any time regardless of Windows upgrades.

Aye. Mango [WP7.5] shipped less than a year later WP7 was released. Information technology also was compatible with all existing devices.

I would love to see the WTF look on Jobs’ face when he first saw this device. What was Microsoft thinking?

The iPad works because information technology gives y’all a
style to do the
things you would otherwise do at your desk. Information technology fits into your life chop-chop and effortlessly and information technology’southward priced to be a discretionary purchase. This is all essential for a new product category.

Microsoft thought that
were going to pay probably over $m for this bizarre device to exercise
on it?? Highly trained people doing specialized work don’t usually alter their workflow unless there is an obvious need and a proven solution. If they focussed the entire production on a single vertical then
they could sell a few. Just an all-purpose creativity device with no 3rd party apps? That pie is in

EDIT: don’t agree so?

I think you’re spot on. Microsoft seems almost obsessed on demoing and talking nigh these lofty products, the Surface is another example. Real artists ship, as someone said..

What’due south interesting is that while Apple had the perfect pitch for the iPad (simple web browsing device), the form cistron and touch screen made it possible to utilise it for nearly anything. Now you run across pilots, doctors and musicians utilize the iPad in their work. It’southward obvious that information technology’south non limited to content consumption.

Hither’s an idea: Make an app (or a framework) allowing two iPads to exist connected over WiFi or with a special “dual iPad” encompass that would make the app span the screens of both iPads. With this, you lot could recreate the Courier experience on a shipping device, priced at $800.

If the iPad tin practise screen mirroring to an Apple Boob tube, why not to another iPad? (Because Apple says and then, of class. 🙂

Stuff like this is starting to happen in a modest way with WiST uniform music apps.

What I plant most ludicrous? Ballmer relying on Gates’ sense of taste to select 1 device or another.

It’south hard to fathom the absurdity of this.

He did the right thing – this whole thought of making something for creative people, “for architects”, is beyond ridiculous.

Simply and then how tin a project go so bad (I am remembering the Kin) and nobody notices until there are 130 people working on it for a year? Here, when we have a stupid thought, it’south ordinarily killed at the 5-people-involved stage. Could it be Microsoft lacks adult supervision?

What I found nigh ludicrous? Ballmer relying on Gates’ taste to select one device or some other.

I know right? Why inquire arguably the most successful businessman in history for his opinion? Stupid Ballmer.

But then how can a project become so bad (I am remembering the Kin) and nobody notices until at that place are 130 people working on it for a yr? Here, when we have a stupid idea, it’south commonly killed at the 5-people-involved stage.

That happens quite hands. The story I’ve heard most the Kin (with no verifiable sources) is that they built the phone they planned on designing for the most office. And had the telephone shipped as a feature phone it may take been a blockbuster. Simply Verizon changed their tune due to information technology existence then late and fabricated it a smartphone. But it was a swell idea, up until information technology was a actually bad thought — with contractual obligations for marketing and delivery.

Oddly, the neutered Kin is one of Verizon’due south summit selling feature phones now.

> Why ask arguably the about successful man of affairs in history for his opinion?

In this specific case, I side with the stated opinion of one of the most admired businessmen of all time, Steve Jobs. Bill Gates but has no taste.

Afterward reading this description of the Courier, I don’t know why even bothering Gates with this.

edit: another caption could be blame shifting. Ballmer knows his tenure has non been exactly vivid and canceling a project that
could be
(information technology would be portrayed as that, if convenient) the iPad killer Microsoft’s board dreams well-nigh would terminate upwards existence armament against Ballmer in any future conflict. Past delegating this decision to Gates, Ballmer is safe. Killing the Courier was the right matter, but Ballmer needed bigger assurance than his own to impale it.

There is something unique about tablets like iPad, which is tough to understand. When Steve Jobs released information technology, he emphasized that this was a major result. Withal at the fourth dimension, information technology looked similar a overblown iPhone. Personally for me, in that location are days when i never miss using my iPad, but without PC i cannot do even for few hours.

That said, i still feel that in that location is something i don’t understand of this device. Something which old-guards like steve and gates, who have seen it happening once, feel almost it and how its going to bring in some large changes in future. Hat’s off to Ballmer to call in the correct person for task.

Hallmark of a good leadership is often about understanding the gravity of state of affairs, know your limitations and find the all-time person for job. No-wonder companies with leaders similar that lead the industry for decades.

I’m non saying it would have outsold the Iphone or anything only at that place was zip wrong with the Kin itself. The telephone plan killed it.

This article sounds as if nobody on the Courier team had been prepped for a MSFT exec review. There’s internal grooming yous go through (Precision Questioning and Answering) that teaches you what BillG’s email question was:

A test of whether y’all thought your product through.

The question could accept been e-post, browsing, orientation, lefties versus righties, market segmentation, price points, or compatibility with RTL languages, but doesn’t really matter.

Information technology sounds as if Allard didn’t take a full answer to the very obvious email question. And that was projection expiry, back in former-globe MSFT. Read some of the old examples from Joel on his BillG review; he was mainly checking to meet if you had your product completely buttoned up before letting you ship. Because if the Courier team couldn’t actually answer how these “creatives” integrated email into their workflow in detail, one) how tin can you lot be certain of their other decisions and 2) they probably would have shipped a one-half-baked V1 that would have taken ii or iii years to fix, by which betoken you would accept been ready with Win8 tablet.

Certain, it’s possible that he was harping on tablet email the way he threw GC skepticism at DevDiv reviews Every. Single. Time. But, given that information technology was electronic mail and not OneNote (the by far near-loved tablet app, IIRC), I doubtable that the Courier squad was having problem turning from a fun hippie prototype team into a aircraft organization with all of the details necessary to produce a solid V1 product buttoned down and BillG called them on information technology.

But J Allard has been through plenty of BillG reviews. He did the XBox and Zune. And was one of the instrumental people that pushed Microsoft to the internet. He was ane of the rising young stars at Microsoft.

He must’ve had Bill’s ear on a regular ground in the by. I suspect this wasn’t the first time he heard or got that feedback from Bill. Bill probably gave him the rope in the past, hoping that J would practice something stunning. And when the story didn’t come together the style he hoped, Bill hung him with it.

Ironically, J’s marketplace failure, the Zune, will end up beingness the motivating UI strength for WP7/Win8 which killed his Courier.

> He did the XBox and Zune.

I’m not certain on the timing, but these may have been in 2002 or more recent. At least from my experiences in DevDiv, that’s effectually the time that BillG pretty much checked out.

I recall that betoken and the get-go versions of both of those products prove my point. The quondam really took a total generation before they figured out the market. Zune has a
music service and the sharing gimmick worked quite well, but they never really managed to figure out a way for the device itself to get more than me-too in the centre of the consumer.

I somehow honey the idea of SteveB asking 2012-BillG to channel 1998-BillG and him merely fierce into Allard, old-schoolhouse review mode. Specially for some of the hippie free love divisions that don’t have whatever former BillG TAs or the exec review civilization, it would’ve been a bloodbath.

At least on the XBox, Gates and Allard interacted a fair flake. From the volume “Opening the XBox”:

“In the adjacent meeting with Gates, Allard, Ferroni, and Thomason broke the news that the machine wouldn’t be able to run the full Windows Bone…Hase says he admired Allard for ‘having the stones’ to ‘rip Windows to shreds’…

Allard recalled afterward, ‘I think that was the closest Neb ever got to strangling me. But he ultimately came around.'”

The impression I get is that Allard has had his share of interaction with Gates, which is why I think this email thing wasn’t news to Allard. But I suspect this time Allard couldn’t convince Gates and so it was killed.

But this just me existence a pundit speculator.

> A new survey by the Boston Consulting Group institute that more than twoscore percent of electric current tablet users in the United States want a tablet that runs Windows. That number jumps to 53 pct when non-tablet owners are included. The reason: familiarity with Windows, which yet runs nearly xc percent of all PCs sold.

Hither, in a nutshell, is why Steve Jobs was right when he said that information technology wasn’t the customer’south task to know what they want. Non many people have the balls to risk cannibalizing their own production and launch a product that their marketeers are convinced the public doesn’t desire.

Not to be pedantic, simply Henry Ford figured that out long earlier SJ was a twinkle in the valley’s eye.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would take said faster horses.”

I e’er detest this quote. You lot should
ask people what they want, you just shouldn’t literally evangelize what they enquire for when you can do much improve.

It helps by reframing the question. Instead of request people what they desire, ask them what kinds of problems are they having with their existing solution. Oftentimes, they will tell you solutions, and yous’ll need to piece of work backwards a flake till yous discover what their pain points are.

Once y’all thoroughly understand the bug they’re having, you take a much better shot at crafting a great solution.

To be fair, Jobs himself acknowledged this. Still, Ford made cars. What was interesting well-nigh Jobs taking that opinion is that he was in a position to do something about it in tech, upending a lot of established dogma. And making a lot of money in the process.

The current state of affairs is more analogous to auto owners preferring a dissimilar kind of horse. Or even people not owning any vehicles still preferring a new kind of horse rather than a car even after cars came out.


But the BCG study isn’t an bibelot. Forrester conducted a poll earlier this year and got the same message, with an even starker gap between Microsoft and everyone else: “Only 9% of consumers considering ownership a tablet actively prefer an Android tablet — compared with xvi% who prefer iOS and 46% who prefer Windows.”

When I wrote about it dorsum in August, I found this so puzzling that I got Forrester researcher Sarah Rotman Epps on the phone to ostend that this wasn’t some weird typo. Nope, she told me.

And it’s sort of common sense: “When we survey consumers, it becomes very clear that Windows is withal a very pop make,” she said. Apple has sold tens of millions of iPads, only Microsoft has sold more than 400 million Windows 7 devices.

46% of consumers preferring Windows = 46% of consumers who are clueless to what a tablet actually is.

I’ve had a touchscreen LCD hooked up to my Windows seven car for about a twelvemonth and a half. Across scrolling through web pages information technology is unusable. The Windows UI is designed for a keyboard and mouse. At present accept this 22″ touch on screen I have and bring it down to 7″. Good luck doing anything.

Obviously Microsoft’south respond to this is the new Metro overlay (or whatever they are calling information technology for Windows 8.) If consumers are swiping through two different versions with a Windows 8 tablet, and one of them is barely usable on a affect screen, its going to flop.

I utilize Windows on my iPad — past remoting in to my desktops. The merely app that I have constitute usable is LogMeIn because of how the mouse cursor is controlled. Its not a pleasant feel just I can get minor work done at able 1/4th speed or less. You can’t release a device that does that out of the box and put your brand on it.

Microsoft appears at a loss on how to movement from the keyboard & mouse world to the touchscreen & voice one. Windows has tons of software for it, none of which was designed for touchscreen & voice world. I never take used this phrase before, but Microsoft is trying to take their block and eat it too. Instead they will get naught.

Yous are trying to use something non designed for bear on and suggesting they suck at touch.

Accept you lot tried a windows telephone 7? I am a mobile dev who has worked on wp7, android, and iPhone. I personally apply an iPhone, simply I found wp7 to exist much nicer than Android and pretty well designed.

Y’all didn’t read the original commodity. The story is about microsoft not wanting to fork Windows. They want Windows 8 to work on desktops, and tablets. From the demo videos I saw, Windows 8 switch back and along between a usable touchscreen UI and the traditional keyboard & mouse UI. That is having your cake and eating it too. And its going to piss consumers off when they think they can use Excel on their new Windows Tablet and instead get an experience alike to picking cactus nettles out of your face.

I recollect your second illustration is spot on. I’grand curious to know what kind of tablet people are envisioning when they answer these questions: an iPad-fashion device running Windows or a meliorate-designed version of a convertible notebook? I honestly tin can’t believe that virtually half of the ready-to-buy-a-tablet market is holding off for Metro.

How does that means Jobs is right? If anything, it seems a significant percentage of current tablet users are non satisfied with their tablets(80% of which are iPads?) and want something with a bit more than power.

Maybe they would have been happier with an iPad that was more than powerful similar the Windows 8 dev preview tablet? We will know when those come out.

Windows tablets have been available in a variety of forms for around twenty years. Without exception, they’ve all been failures in the market.

People like the idea of a Windows tablet much more than than the reality. Real products have to make compromises, like sacrificing operation or bombardment life to run legacy applications designed for PCs, and there’south no magical style to make interfaces designed for a mouse and keyboard suitable for touch input without changing them completely.

I’m forced to use a windows xp tablet at work. Made by Philips. Information technology’s so bad it hurts, and every so often you lot meet the cursor appear that is nether your finger when you hit a button. It’s buggy and hideous. Used once it could put you off Microsoft for life.

I know a lot of people were in love with the Courier idea, but I really capeesh Beak Gates’ call on this one. What looks cool in a demo doesn’t ever translate to exercise. In that location are a lot of uneasy questions here:

* How big is the market for a content creation tablet in Allard’due south vision?

* Is it safe to assume that architects, artists, etc would utilize such a device for their core piece of work, or would it simply be a “for fun” device? “For fun” devices that sell at high price points are a big risk in my view.

* With Allard bucking the notion that the product needed to align with Microsoft’s core software line-up, how wise would it be to bet the hereafter (postal service-PC globe, yada yada) on a product that diverges from the company line, rather than converges?

If Microsoft did anything with the Courier tablet, they should position information technology within their entertainment sectionalisation along with the XBox. The issue with that is that they’d essentially be cultivating competing businesses inside Microsoft. XBox + Courier becomes the “post-PC” business organisation unit of measurement, while the Windows cash moo-cow is forced to compete. I’one thousand not certain that makes sense either.

There is not an easy play here. I think Metro is a huge footstep forward for Microsoft, and they’re making some interesting plays with regards to traditional Windows integration. It certainly looks a lot like what people have been screaming for: a tablet that tin run a mail service-PC operating arrangement, simply can switch back to their tried and truthful Windows desktop when needed. The question is whether or not the compromise volition deliver a sub-par experience.

When’s the last time a dual-UI delivered a expert experience?

Microsoft’s been down this road a few times and it hasn’t worked yet. Just look at Tablet XP. How many great tablet apps are there? Ones that really leverage the stylus or were written to run efficiently and intelligently to get-go quickly, resume sessions, auto-salvage documents and preserve precious battery life?

And how many were lazy ports with, perchance, enlarged controls and piles of inefficient legacy lawmaking lurking within? Code that just didn’t map well to actual mobile utilize, where every second of delay feels like an age, and add upward very quickly to a consummate waste matter of time (compared to only walking over to a desktop).

The only way I can see Windows viii’due south metro interface really working, is if the mode shift to archetype Windows UI and apps is tied to a ‘docking’ situation. So, metro on the become, archetype windows when you dock information technology into a proper display, keyboard, mouse and external power. That would give developers the right incentive to ensure they accept something that works bang-up while the user is out and about, designed specifically for that use case, while nonetheless keeping the total flexibility of legacy apps when the necessary peripherals (and plenty of electricity) are bachelor.

“When’due south the last fourth dimension a dual-UI delivered a proficient experience?”

Zilch works, until information technology does. I’ve had this same conversation with clients and partners alike. When something goes wrong, they reaction is often “Well it worked yesterday.” Yes, everything works until it doesn’t, and nothing works until it does. Evaluative statements of the past don’t always predict the time to come.

I hold that information technology won’t be piece of cake. That’s why I say that there is no like shooting fish in a barrel play here. Apple has forged ahead with a tablet that completely abandons past models. It is a 100% affect feel. It is undeniable that people have cried out for a dual-UI product though.

Balance. I’m not saying consumers know best either. I’m maxim that if Microsoft tin can rest the two, it could pay off.

Equally far as programmer incentives go, I recall Apple has washed Microsoft a huge favor. There will be a lot of bad dual-UI apps. Lazy programmers produce crappy applications. But at that place are a large number of motivated developers out there every bit well. They’ve seen what a impact UI should look like. The incentive comes in the form of inspiration and the validation (from consumers) that a 100% affect UI sells, and information technology sells well.

When’south the final time a dual-UI delivered a good experience?

Before the iPad was launched you could just as hands say “When’s the concluding fourth dimension a tablet delivered a practiced experience?”. Microsoft and others had tried the form cistron and failed, only then Apple came forth and fabricated a brilliant device. There is no reason the same could not happen for dual-UI devices.

That’southward kind of strange reasoning. iPad was the first tablet to evangelize good feel, and this was exactly because UI was tailored for touch. This does footling to assure that dual UI can exist successful.

The Nintendo DS / 3DS?

A large amount of the software bachelor for those consoles utilises a dual-screen interface in an interesting / useful way.

Admittedly not a device designed for creation (across the camera and associated silly visual effects), simply the original DS came out of nowhere and proved a dual-screen device with a stylus interface could work properly.

That, unlike the iPad, Courier, and the future Win8 devices, is legitimately a specialty device, and if you think that Apple’south restrictive about what software developers tin can do, have a look at Nintendo’s policies.

So try browsing Hacker News, Gmail, or some PG essays on your DS. The DS is an interesting device and I love information technology to pieces, merely comparing it to an iPad, a Win8 device, or a Courier tablet, is very, very tenuous.

I’thousand pretty sure that’s how the UI is going to work. For those with ARM tablets it will probably be a 24×7 Metro UI.

This quote fabricated Brook’s law echo in my head: “But an employee who worked on Courier said the project was far enough forth that the remaining work could have been completed in months
if the company had added more than people to the team.” [Emphasis mine]

Yes, I basically concur except Brooks himself said in the Mythical Homo-Month that Brooks’ Constabulary is “an outrageous oversimplification.”

Not every job is comparable to “nine women having ane baby in ane month.” At that place tin be sweet spots in staffing, and sometimes projects really don’t take enough staff to achieve their goals.

But an employee who worked on Courier said the projection was far enough along that the remaining piece of work could have been completed in months

Yep. All they needed to do was bring in some programmers to get-go implementing the thing.

I remembered how the Courier appealed to me more than the iPad when i saw that video. The moleskin form factor is as well a big plus over iPad since information technology was less fragile and more compact (perfect for traveling).

I don’t understand why they couldn’t pursue both, similar to the iPad & Macbook-pro dynamic.

Of course, Microsoft’southward real problem is not that they killed the product, but that they made it public at a time when it wasn’t clear it would really go to market.

Microsoft has a long history of commencing marketing well before a production is fix. How long was the run-up to Windows Cairo? (Ki-Rho; XP)

That can be a very constructive way to reduce or eliminate competition, and it’south a technique that’south helped Microsoft acquire dominance in a number of markets.

With the electric current fondness for years of lead time for some Microsoft products and the occasional failure to release, Microsoft’s competitors can target Microsoft’due south products well prior to release, and the inevitable critical reviews can proceeds visibility in the marketplace.

The actual Microsoft product releases – when the products are available to consumers, and the profits commence and the reviews and the competitors have all adapted and retargeted – accept go anti-climactic.

They didn’t intentionally make it public. The videos and and then on were leaks.

The internet seems to have decided that Microsoft intentionally leaked this stuff to disrupt the iPad launch, but I detect that very unlikely considering that according to these and other stories, the projection was already in astringent danger of being killed past the time the videos came out. It’south more than likely someone on the squad leaked them out of frustration with the impending cancellation – leaking something y’all’re about to kill is not a PR win (equally we’ve seen).

Don’t agree, to me the real problem is actually that they failed to make it or whatsoever other similiar consumer product.

If it wasn’t working in practice, not making information technology is a virtue, not a trouble.

I said

Microsoft killing information technology is only a
if it was turning into a cracking device. Which we don’t know whatsoever more than than we know whether it was turning into a bad one.

Typically the form-cistron seems to boss discussions of the Courier, merely the really interesting thing is that information technology was intended to be a content cosmos device. Dissimilarity that with the iPad which excels at providing consumption. We could have had two radically different tablet categories, each excellently tailored to one specific intent. Microsoft really could have had a hand in shaping the mural where now they’re communicable up.

The reasons cited by people who claim the iPad “can’t exercise content cosmos” is the virtual keyboard, which precludes efficient typing and the lack of legacy apps, which precludes existing workflows.

The courier would be in that exact same position.

And allow us not forget that at that place are
two radically different tablet categories. One tailored to typing and legacy apps and the other tailored to all-new touch-focused apps. The market simply couldn’t care less about the ones with keyboards and apps that were designed for mice.

And do remember that the “creation versus consumption” thing is a talking point originally introduced past… Microsoft! People somehow seem to have adopted it as a simple truth, but information technology’southward really a piece of marketing.

> And practise remember that the “creation versus consumption” thing is a talking point originally introduced past… Microsoft!

Actually? I didn’t know that. When did they create this distinction?

The courier would have had a stylus, handwriting recognition, and a really nice screen. You’d have been able to cut and paste text and images by cartoon circles around them and swiping them into a clipboard-bucket-affair on the other screen.

I don’t know how well information technology would have worked in the concluding product, but it looked pretty snazzy in the demo videos. 🙂

1 of the primary reasons I similar computers is that I don’t take to write by mitt anymore. I don’t think I’thousand alone.

I think the intention was for people who needed to draw things, like architects, electrical/mechanical engineers, artists. I nearly die over the fact that in that location is no awesome tablet that explicitly supports styluses and uses them in some new awesome artistic style. It would really take away the barrier of taking notes in grade with a tablet efficiently. (Fifty-fifty though I still plan on getting a tablet to do such things).

Well-nigh of the time. Just years of loftier school and college trained me to accept notes with my hand. Trying to focus on what people are saying and utilise a keyboard just feels too hard.

And yet I withal don’t want to give upward all the advantages of electronic (vs newspaper) notes. I’d run to get a tablet with a actually, really good stylus (I had high hopes for the HTC Flyer, but… mayhap a future ICS tablet will get it right).

I’m not sure what handwriting recognition gets you. I don’t know if yous noticed but handwriting is slow. Much, much, much slower than any touch keyboard, peculiarly a huge one like on the iPad.

Handwriting recognition lets you jot downwards notes on a large diagram without stopping to switch contexts and find some sort of keyboard input mechanism.

The courier was designed for people who are spending well-nigh of their time drawing, and don’t demand the overhead of dealing with a keyboard. I’ve seen some similar Windows seven devices floating around, and I’d be interested to attempt them out.

This obviously isn’t marketed at coders, and information technology sounds pretty useful for some heavy-duty drawing tasks.

That’s useful.

It doesn’t brand the Courier any more than a creation device than the iPad, though. That’due south just absurd. The iPad is (also) for cosmos, the Courier would accept been (also) for creation.

I really don’t know why tablets don’t take autograph recognition.

Shorthand is fast.

That would be a niche feature. I dubiousness many people tin write shorthand.

I wonder if more people would learn shorthand if the devices could make it an input technique competitive with touch typing?

Contrast that with the iPad which excels at providing consumption.

That’south non a contrast. Just because iPad excels at consumption doesn’t hateful it fails at creation.

Paper excels at providing consumption. Far more paper is used for consumption than for creation. Doesn’t mean paper isn’t also fantastic for creation.

Yep, simply the Courier was leagues beyond anything you can do with an iPad in terms of content creation. Fifty-fifty now, there’s nothing on the iPad that works equally well as OneNote (yes, that includes EverNote), and Courier extended far past OneNote to integrate a bunch of more advanced, integrated blueprint ideas.

“Yes, but the Courier was leagues beyond anything you can exercise with an iPad”

With all due respect, the courier was not a shipping product, the video mockups were absurd, simply to compare a successful shipping product with a vapourware concept video – and to conclude that the non-existing 1 is better, is not especially useful.

I hold with you lot to some extent but you missed out the last fleck of his sentence “in terms of content creation”. I do think the original iPad was poor for content cosmos, thats fine every bit it was a bright device just I practice call back there was a hazard the Courier could have been better in that regard.

“Creation vs consumption” is a completely false dichotomy. By far the biggest constraint on “creation” is the person operating the device. We have no shortage of guitars, computers with fastened keyboards, and cameras, yet there’s non a notable surplus of corking music, writing and movies. For an actually artistic
person, the surplus of accessible content is inspiration to create, not some sort of impediment. Actually creative people also meet limitless artistic potential in these “consumption devices”.

Cosmos = me writing this comment on Hacker News (for which I’d like to have a keyboard) or writing a letter to my mom (for which I might even like to write in my own handwriting, maybe on a pen-based tablet). Information technology’south not just most creating works of genius.

“merely the Courier was leagues beyond anything you can practice with an iPad in terms of content creation”

Really? I but saw infographic videos that were made by artists. We did not meet the existent matter in action.

You must exist thinking that someone canceled the Hoverboards that the film series “Back to the futurity” displayed “working” in the same fashion MS displayed Courier “working”.

To dream (and to fake is style easier than create).

The Courier was never demoed publicly, permit lone shipped to consumers, it’s a bit silly to say information technology was leagues beyond anything at all.

OneNote is such an amazing piece of software I owned Gateway’s M285-E simply for it. See this pic on the correct:

Hacker News likes VisiCalc, and in the same vein, for handwritten notes on the iPad, try VisiCalc author Dan Bricklin’due south “Note Taker HD”. That said, you’d take to blend Annotation Taker HD with Evernote to get OneNote.

OneNote’s amazing. It would be a fascinating story to share how it managed to get traction at Microsoft and how it lost its prominance one time the tablet PC push died out.

That said, Annotation Taker Hard disk drive is also astonishing, as are Evernote, OmniGraffle, Keynote, Pages, iA Writer, Index Carte, Tiffen Photograph fx Ultra, Snapseed, PhotoForge2, Inspire Pro, Sketch Volume Pro, Garage Ring, iMovie, OmniFocus, Textastic Lawmaking Editor (compatible with TextMate syntax definitions and themes), and the list goes on.

OneNote on a TabletPC was pretty much tailor-made for centre management at Microsoft to use while sitting in meetings all day.

That’s how it came to exist, as the most delicious dogfood.

In a mode, Apple tree didn’t target or tailor their device at all, cleverly assuasive the vagueness to guarantee multiple uses. Remember the 2010 keynote?

>Do we have what it takes to establish a tertiary category of products? An awesome product between the laptop and the smartphone?

I retrieve the iPad is used creatively by quite a few people, although perhaps not equally loftier a percent as Macs and PCs. Merely and so, what about all those PCs in banks and call centres ?… 🙂

>Merely then, what about all those PCs in banks and call centres?

They are used in the creation of income 🙂

It’due south incredible that parts of Microsoft were considering a tablet without email, and excellent of Ballmer to go go Gates to tell him
(though odd that Ballmer couldn’t figure that ane out himself). Then RIM launched a tablet with no electronic mail, and….yeah. Not such a expert idea.

I accept an iPad and I accept never used I use Browser+gmail, so I agree with you statement.

Tablet without email is reasonable IMO.

Does this mean you never get electronic mail notifications? In society to check your email, yous have to pick upward your tablet, turn it on, unlock it, open up the browser, navigate to, log in, and so see?

On the Xoom, it notifies me if anything happens and my email is a home screen widget – the process
significantly smoother and faster this way.

> On the Xoom, it notifies me if anything happens and my email is a home screen widget – the process seems significantly smoother and faster this fashion.

If I were to take a tablet I think I’d only use it at abode, among family members and enjoying my free time. In that case NO e-mail is that of import to require immediate activity, and for the few, inevitable exceptions (web-server going downwardly, payment system not working etc.) I’ve instructed my dominate to call me on the phone directly.

I’m not unsympathetic to the statement that, if yous’re a manager, you lot should go along on top of your email. If your piece of work involves coordinating other people, yous’ll spend most of your time in email anyway.

But that’s every bit far as information technology goes. I’g non a managing director. When I’m at work on my computer, I want my email client to not pester me. Instead, I will go to it in one case or twice a twenty-four hour period when I’ve reached a natural pause in my work. When I’m at home on my tablet, I desire my email customer to non pester me. Instead, I desire to read the news, watch a movie, or otherwise relish myself unmolested. If something is urgent, I tin receive calls and pages on my phone. My phone has an e-mail client. I don’t want it to pester me, either.

How practice y’all effigy? The aforementioned basic hardware is remanifesting as the Kindle Fire, and then that’s not where RIM screwed up.

When I talked to non-tech types most the Playbook, 1 of the mutual themes was “it’south a Blackberry without email? That’due south stupid.”

I mean, to the boilerplate consumer Blackberry is largely synonymous with e-mail and BBM. What made the move particularly bizaro is that RIM tried to sell this anti-feature equally a corporate security affair… for a device whose main appeal was to finish consumers.

Either way, it was a stupid waste material of the Blackberry brand.

From RIM’due south marketing and positioning, Playbook was a companion device for the Blackberry and aimed squarely at the iPad. And then in that POV, the playbook was for the people who already had email and bbm.

I think the high developer friction (poor tools, poor stores, etc.) and the incorrect direction were amongst the bigger problems.

>Then in that POV, the playbook was for the people who already had electronic mail and bbm.

I don’t know a single person that uses a tablet that
use it for email.

>I retrieve the high developer friction (poor tools, poor stores, etc.) and the wrong management were among the bigger problems.

Yous’re looking at information technology from a technical perspective, and the Playbook’s failure was a complete lack of demand from consumers. When the people that really buy tablets react to your marketing strategy with “that’due south stupid” and in plough refuse to purchase your device, information technology doesn’t matter if you have the all-time developer tools in the earth; you lot’ve nonetheless set up yourself up for failure.

>So in that POV, the playbook was for the people who already had email and bbm.

>I don’t know a single person that uses a tablet that doesn’t use it for email.

Didn’t say it CANNOT do email. webmail and email apps were welcome, and i didn’t say that it wasnt a fault (information technology was) just i think RIM went for an MVP (BB style email must’ve had a big time-to-market toll) to go to market faster.

>I recollect the high developer friction (poor tools, poor stores, etc.) and the wrong management were amidst the bigger problems.

>You’re looking at it from a technical perspective, and the Playbook’due south failure was a consummate lack of need from consumers. When the people that really buy tablets react to your marketing strategy with “that’due south stupid” and in plough refuse to buy your device, it doesn’t thing if you accept the best developer tools in the globe; you’ve notwithstanding set yourself up for failure.

We are on the same page (hence the “management”) function. Playbook was a misguided attempt, instead of zagging. it wen t and battled with iPad squarely without the 10x comeback or any unfair advantage.

In summation, i think the rank of problem of RIM’southward tablet strategy are: 1st: Wrong angle of attack, 2nd: platform friction , (close)tertiary: fundamental features weren’t in the MVP.

Consider that the Blackberry tablets are a completely different OS than Blackberry phones. Not having e-mail on a BB is just another example of RIM making RIM-like-decisions

>Consider that the Blackberry tablets are a completely different Os than Blackberry phones.

At the moment. QNX will eventually be on the phones as well, but RIM is dragging their anxiety about getting information technology there.

Another mutual theme from the Blackberry fanatics I know is that they’re
at the very to the lowest degree waiting for QNX phones before they get another Blackberry, and most of them have just given upwardly and switched to iOS or Android at this indicate.

It seems puzzling to me that you would count QNX
the Playbook when you have that into consideration.

The developer experience for BB’due south is beyond painful. Add an unpopular device with a unique SDK and the outcome is fewer apps for end users

It’due south not that the Courier wouldn’t have email, but that its reason for existence was not going to be hooking in to Exchange and Outlook.

Aye, I realize as I kept reading that the conclusion I reached may be the same equally Gates but for entirely different reasons. I would fearfulness any tablet that launches without email because (for me and everyone I’ve always met) Emailing is Use Case #i. It sounds like Gates feared the launch because it didn’t align with electric current acquirement.

This confirms what I’ve suspected for a while. Microsoft is
afraid of disrupting its master business concern, which may actually pb to their downfall, if the process hasn’t already started because of their slow reaction to the touchscreen devices market place.

Contrast this with Apple or Google, who aren’t agape to build another OS that is more forward looking, and may even end up replacing their main one down the line (iOS in Apple’southward case, Chrome OS in Google’southward case).

except Google and Apple don’t make money off of an OS. For MS Windows is the product. For Apple it’s the experience, and for Google the OS is a means to go you to their website/services without interference.

How would Chrome Os replace Android? Android might adopt “omg webapps” but that seems about it.

Information technology makes me kind of sad that we won’t see something like the Courier. The biggest problem with the current tablet market is that it’due south the iPad and a bunch of devices that are emulating the iPad – they’re all dumb-final content-consumption devices, basically. Non that there’due south anything incorrect with that, just it isn’t a full computer-replacement experience (no matter how much Apple wants you to believe it is).

A tablet class-factor device geared at content creation would fill a major gap in the tablet market, I recollect. My iPad is groovy for watching Netflix in bed or for reading Flipboard feeds on the can, merely using it to create anything longer than a ii-judgement answer to an electronic mail is only a chore. A “digital notebook” would be a actually welcome addition to the marketplace space. Something that would allow me accept notes, write easily, capture and comment photos, tinker with design tools, or maybe fifty-fifty write code on the become, which could then be easily transferred back and along between my workstation and “notebook” would get my coin in a heartbeat.

The closest analog is the Macbook Air, not the iPad, but I think there’due south a place between the Air and the tablet that we could see some neat progress in.

Although this could have been a really good production Beak Gates fabricated the right phone call. This would have just fragmented Windows further past the sounds of information technology. Sinofsky’s plan for Windows 8 to essentially get in work on PC’s and Tablets looks good. And it is something MS has wanted to practice for a long fourth dimension. They’ve been putting full Windows on tablets for years but he has finally delivered an interface that will brand it work.

I don’t come across how this was even a dilemma to Microsoft. The market for what is essentially a digital scrap book could have in no manner justified it. Seriously, what percentage of the population would really benefit from this functionality?

Companies like Microsoft don’t get into a market unless it’s worth billions.

To me the courier was a cool device, very disruptive because some “pages” were browsers, some were note pads, some were prototype editors — in that location were no clear boundaries, merely it was all the same cool none the less.

I feel that Steve Jobs would have went along with the idea of courier and not worry and then much about their flagship bone. Well, thats what happen with IOS. This makes me wonder how Gates and Jobs would have run Apple and MS if they were put in charge of the opposing team in 2005.

Well iOS has been around in public since 2007, and it is certainly a flagship OS. Different whatever would go onto the Courier, iOS is arguably Apple’due south about important Os.

Why did they work on the Courier in the first place? Couldn’t Pecker accept asked if it supports electronic mail earlier the project had hundreds of people assigned to information technology?

Did you read the commodity? The Courier was VERY MUCH alive. Over 130 employees working on it with custom hardware prototypes and many systems very far along. It was certainly… killed.

I gauge this comes down to a when-does-life-brainstorm argument.

The courier was busy being born when it was killed.

It looks like a big mess of jumbled ambitions. Microsoft needs to learn to keep it simple and design things that will actually exist useful.