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Oh dear, no killer tablet from Mr Softy

30 Apr 2010

Tagged with iPad, Miscellaneous

Although it was never offi­cially acknowl­edged, Microsoft’s Courier fold­ing tablet con­cept stirred more excite­ment among tech watch­ers than any of the company’s actual recent prod­ucts. In fact, when rumors said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would show off some sort of tablet at CES in Jan­u­ary, there were hopes it would be the Courier (see “Tablet buzz could give Ballmer a headache”). The spot­lighted gad­get turned out to be an HP slate run­ning Win­dows 7, which inspired some­what less enthu­si­asm. Now it appears nei­ther will see the light of day.

The Courier is gone for sure. Microsoft on Thurs­day con­firmed both its exis­tence and its demise, chalk­ing it up as a valu­able learn­ing expe­ri­ence. “At any given time, across any of our busi­ness groups, there are new ideas being inves­ti­gated, tested, and incu­bated,” said Cor­po­rate VP of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Frank Shaw. “It’s in Microsoft’s DNA to con­tin­u­ally develop and incu­bate new tech­nolo­gies to fos­ter pro­duc­tiv­ity and cre­ativ­ity. The ‘Courier’ project is an exam­ple of this type of effort and its tech­nolo­gies will be eval­u­ated for use in future Microsoft offerings.”

Mean­while, accord­ing to a source talk­ing to TechCrunch, HP has also decided to write off its Microsoft slate as a learn­ing expe­ri­ence, one that may have been more expen­sive than valu­able. The tablet was expected to reach the mar­ket in midyear, but the source says HP just wasn’t happy with Win­dows 7 as a tablet oper­at­ing sys­tem. And con­sid­er­ing that HP just acquired its own snazzy mobile oper­at­ing sys­tem with the pur­chase of Palm, per­haps this shouldn’t come as a sur­prise (see “By grab­bing Palm, HP weak­ens Microsoft’s hand”). Get­ting Palm’s webOS all spruced up for tablet duty will take a while, but if HP wants to make a quicker entry, there’s always Google’s Android to play with.

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