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Killing of Microsoft’s “Courier” tablet project made way for Windows 8

  Here is the Microsoft courier tablet story. Microsoft “Courier” tablet project made way for Windows 8

The tech media is currently abuzzed with an inside story revealed by CNet, detailing the scenarios under which the much-talked about ‘Microsoft Courier tablet’, which was to launch in mid-2010, was killed before even taking a life.

According to CNet, Microsoft had two internal teams, having non-coherent vision for tablet computing. One was led by the creator of Xbox godfather, J Allard and the other by Steven Sinofsky, the head of Windows division.

J Allard was the pushing force behind Courier tablet and wanted the project to take off as an actual production unit. The only issue with Courier tablet was that it was powered by a modified version of Windows, probably not perfectly aligned with earlier Windows versions and had a different DNA than legacy Windows versions.

And it was indigestible for Sinofsky to drift away from Windows legacy in tablet computing, although tablet friendly Windows version was far from complete at that time.

In such a conflicting scenario, Steve Ballmer escalated the matter to Bill Gates for taking a final call on the fate of courier tablet. Bill Gates couldn’t digest the disruptive idea of specialized ‘courier’ tablet and hence scrapped the whole project there itself.

Since then, Microsoft started working aggressively on the development of tablet friendly version of Windows, which we now know as Windows 8.

Assuming CNet’s story to be factually correct, one can say that Bill Gates is the reason why there’s no disruptive ‘Courier’ tablet in existence today.

Killing of Courier tablet. Blessing in disguise ?

From one perspective, slaughter of ‘courier’ tablet in its development stages may appear as Microsoft’s reluctance towards disruptive, world-changing concepts.  But on the contrary, it was this very decision that led Microsoft to choose Windows 8 as the future of Tablet computing.

Although Microsoft is still far from having Windows 8 tablets hitting the retail stores but looking at the response that Windows 8 has received since it got previewed in September, Microsoft’s decision of choosing Windows 8 as its future of tablet computing seems more strategic and practical.

Windows 8 has been gaining substantial support from developer community ever since it got announced and most of the PC manufacturers that have been long time partners of Microsoft, have already committed to launching their tablet devices with Windows 8 as the OS.

Although some of the manufacturers such as Samsung and Motorola(which is now owned by Google) have launched their tablet devices, majority of the PC manufacturers are anxiously waiting for Microsoft to get fully done with development and refining of Windows 8.

According to some reports, cellphone manufacturers such as Nokia are also gearing up for a Windows 8 tablet in 2012. All of this gives strongly suggests a bright future for Windows 8 and therefore, the decision of Microsoft(or Bill Gates for that matter) to scrap off ‘Courier’ project in favor of developing a more aligned, tablet friendly Windows 8 OS turned out a better deal for Microsoft.


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