The product of a web developer with a little too much caffeine

Goodbye Courier, Goodbye Innovation…

with 3 comments

The Courier project was canceled today. Despite all the excitement and buzz that a handful of concept art was able to generate, the Courier was abandoned without anything more than this short and uninformative explanation…

At any given time, we’re looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, incubating them. 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.

Really? Is that really how the Courier dies? Dismissed as quietly as it was introduced?

In my opinion, Microsoft really needed this to shake things up. The had simultaneously gotten the interest of students, graphic designers, businessmen and Inspector Gadget fans all with the same device!

More importantly, this showed that Microsoft could innovate truly unique experiences that were both functional and “magical”. Sure, Windows Phone 7 is cool, but it’s still Microsoft playing catch up. This was something completely different which is why I think it created the buzz that it did… not like their other recent innovations which aren’t even registering as a blip on the radar.

Recently, or more specifically today, conducted a highly scientific poll (of 4 family members) to see how the whole “brand recognition” thing was going for Apple vs. Microsoft.

I started with “Tell me everything that you know Apple makes” which they breezed through easily. The 8 and 4 year old for the most part nailed it — iPhone, iPods (Apple-Pods) and laptops. These kids don’t even own these things.

Then I asked “Tell me everything that you know Microsoft makes”. Neither of the kids could name anything. The adults stumbled through it as well but they did at least name off a few versions of Windows and a couple of the Office products – but from their perspective that was it.

Keep in mind that I’m a Microsoft developer – I own a Zune, I use Windows, I search with Bing… okay, that last one is a lie… but these people see Microsoft stuff all the time.

Of course, my family and in-laws are hardly representative of a larger, growing consumer base, right?


To be clear, I’m a big fan of Microsoft, in fact some day I hope I’ll be working for them… but today I’m dumbfounded by their decision. Microsoft needed this…

Goodbye Courier, goodbye innovation…

Written by hugoware

April 29, 2010 at 10:20 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Well… At least there is the Windows Phone 7 Series to hope for…


    April 29, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    • Windows Phone 7 looks neat but it is still simply Microsoft catching up with Apple.

      Courier was a fresh and new approach to a tablet. The entire experience was designed from the ground up to work with only that device. Now, what are we going to get instead? Windows 7 force fit onto a cheaper tablet to compete with the iPad?

      Maybe Courier wasn’t cost effective. Maybe they will make more money just packaging existing software. Who knows…

      In any case, maybe it is just as well it never came. I doubt it would have been able to live up to the hype that had been generated for it. At least now it can forever live in my mind as the greatest gadget that never was. 🙂


      April 30, 2010 at 10:56 am

  2. I do feel microsoft sometimes innovates then mr X upstairs reigns them. The zune V2 to be fair is pretty competitive in terms of features + competitors at the time of release, will buy one soon.

    The last drop of smartphones seemed a real clutch at the cool kids, novel but maybe too niche also data plans not too cheap for the tweens. The courier was interesting a hint of innovation but snowballed, maybe the lack of a mature touch interface.


    May 20, 2010 at 4:30 pm

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