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Courier Dead

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  • User profile image
    RLO

    turrican said:
    RLO said:
    *snip*

    Microsoft never really was a hardware company, they do software.

    I can argue against what you said with just one word :

     

    Silverlight.

    I agree that Microsoft is a software company, what I am trying to say is that because of the global market, there is no such thing as a strictly hardware company and the only growth is in customized software for comoditized hardware.  Who manufactures the hardware products of today?  Look at the personal computer market, you will find that it is a small band of actual manufacturers that supply parts and assembly to companies that place their name and design the box.  HP and Dell are not making computers, they are contracting them out to manufacturers and assemblers in China.  Is it too much of a leap to think that Microsoft could do these same contracts and cut out the OEM?  Is it too much of a leap to think these OEM's could build and customize their own software and cut out Microsoft?  In one week we see the Courier a Microsoft prototype hardware/software computing appliance killed and in the same week we see HP buy a mobile software company and kill a product line running Microsoft's software.  So, tell me which is the smarter business decision?

     

    You mention Silverlight, and I agree it's a powerful future platform, but can you name me a computing appliance product that runs it?

    iPhone and iPad?  Nope.

    Blackberry OS? Nope.

    Zune HD? Nope.

    Windows Phone 7, when released.

    Kin? Nope.

    Kindle? Nope.

    Nook? Nope.

     

    In order for Silverlight to make a difference, it's going to have to be adopted and installed on more platforms than just PC, Mac, and Linux boxes.

     

    If the future is computing appliances, as we can see by the market growth of smartphones and e-readers, then Microsoft is doing abysmally in that product category.   There is promise with Windows Phone 7, but in the end we will see the same issues that have affected the PC market affect the smartphone market.  Did HP make a smartphone, or did HTC make HP branded smartphones running Microsoft software?  What happens now that HTC will make HP phones running WebOS?   Killing the Courier project has effectively relegated Microsoft out of the competition for the future of computing experiences. Amazon and Apple will control the ebook market with the Nook having it's place.  Apple will control the tablet market or HP with WebOS.  Apple and Google will continue to increase marketshare and mindshare for their phones as more developers flock to the platform, and Microsoft might be able to manage a slice before their competition adds the Windows Phone 7 features.

     

     

     

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    turrican said:
    RLO said:
    *snip*

    Microsoft never really was a hardware company, they do software.

    I can argue against what you said with just one word :

     

    Silverlight.

    Microsoft may not be a 'hardware' company, but I've been touch typing for almost 3 decades and I've never seen a better keyboard than theirs.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    RLO said:
    turrican said:
    *snip*

    I agree that Microsoft is a software company, what I am trying to say is that because of the global market, there is no such thing as a strictly hardware company and the only growth is in customized software for comoditized hardware.  Who manufactures the hardware products of today?  Look at the personal computer market, you will find that it is a small band of actual manufacturers that supply parts and assembly to companies that place their name and design the box.  HP and Dell are not making computers, they are contracting them out to manufacturers and assemblers in China.  Is it too much of a leap to think that Microsoft could do these same contracts and cut out the OEM?  Is it too much of a leap to think these OEM's could build and customize their own software and cut out Microsoft?  In one week we see the Courier a Microsoft prototype hardware/software computing appliance killed and in the same week we see HP buy a mobile software company and kill a product line running Microsoft's software.  So, tell me which is the smarter business decision?

     

    You mention Silverlight, and I agree it's a powerful future platform, but can you name me a computing appliance product that runs it?

    iPhone and iPad?  Nope.

    Blackberry OS? Nope.

    Zune HD? Nope.

    Windows Phone 7, when released.

    Kin? Nope.

    Kindle? Nope.

    Nook? Nope.

     

    In order for Silverlight to make a difference, it's going to have to be adopted and installed on more platforms than just PC, Mac, and Linux boxes.

     

    If the future is computing appliances, as we can see by the market growth of smartphones and e-readers, then Microsoft is doing abysmally in that product category.   There is promise with Windows Phone 7, but in the end we will see the same issues that have affected the PC market affect the smartphone market.  Did HP make a smartphone, or did HTC make HP branded smartphones running Microsoft software?  What happens now that HTC will make HP phones running WebOS?   Killing the Courier project has effectively relegated Microsoft out of the competition for the future of computing experiences. Amazon and Apple will control the ebook market with the Nook having it's place.  Apple will control the tablet market or HP with WebOS.  Apple and Google will continue to increase marketshare and mindshare for their phones as more developers flock to the platform, and Microsoft might be able to manage a slice before their competition adds the Windows Phone 7 features.

     

     

     

    Well, I thought the Courier might prove me wrong, but MS really is past its best. But look at how much cash IBM rakes in, even though it doesn't make the headlines anymore. 

     

    This mobile tech is for the youngsters (like Google) and the older guys who like look hip by hanging out with the youngsters (Apple). And MS is happy to watch them while it sits back in its armchair wearing comfy slippers and smoking a pipe; living off its past success and wallowing in a fug of fine tobacco and haemorrhoid cream.

     

    I think it's just the natural order of things.

  • User profile image
    RLO

    Ray7 said:
    RLO said:
    *snip*

    Well, I thought the Courier might prove me wrong, but MS really is past its best. But look at how much cash IBM rakes in, even though it doesn't make the headlines anymore. 

     

    This mobile tech is for the youngsters (like Google) and the older guys who like look hip by hanging out with the youngsters (Apple). And MS is happy to watch them while it sits back in its armchair wearing comfy slippers and smoking a pipe; living off its past success and wallowing in a fug of fine tobacco and haemorrhoid cream.

     

    I think it's just the natural order of things.

    Ray you are right, but I will go one step further.  It's not the company, it's the leadership.  I have seen so many great things come out of Microsoft.  It's only in the past couple of years that I have seen the company move backwards.   Remember, it was youth and innovation that wanted to create and market Courier, you already described what killed it.

     

    Last year when I saw the direction the company started to go down, I started hedging bets and bought my first Apple product, a Mac Mini.  This year I wanted to see how things would shake out and it looks like it's time to buy an iPad and begin learning xcode and opengl.  I doubt I was the only one that said hold on the iPad for the Courier. 

     

     

  • User profile image
    Cream​Filling512

    Sorry, but Natal is coming out this year and it's a billion times cooler than the cheesy Courier videos.  It could bring about whole new user interaction paradigms.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    CreamFilling512 said:

    Sorry, but Natal is coming out this year and it's a billion times cooler than the cheesy Courier videos.  It could bring about whole new user interaction paradigms.

    It 'could' do a lot of things if:

     

    a/. It doesn't get dropped.

    b/. It's as good the video demonstration.

     

    Nothing about it will be clear until it's actually shipped.

     

  • User profile image
    algorith

    xgamer said:

    Though I have been skeptic  about ( as that many other MS Research - Techfest / Concept Video  - Prototypes ) Courier and was expecting it to be another vaporware, I feel sad sometimes when my feeling become truth.

     

    I think MS Management has to seriously rethink their product lifecycle management style, where they overpromise or atleast create great enthusiasm thru videos and their talks and then never deliver ( not even under ... ).  I think in the current network connected world where news travels so fast ... it will create a disillusion about MS promises in the minds of general public and specially in the minds of MS followers ... 

     

    So whats next Natal Cancellation ... I dont think Dovella will be a fanboy of MS a lot longer Tongue Out

     Did MS ever even announced they were going to deliver such a product? It's not a cancellation, if it was never on track to be made into a retail product. 

     

     I was looking forward to it either way, but I knew the chances of it never making it to market were high. Looks like an ipad will have to suffice, 

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    algorith said:
    xgamer said:
    *snip*

     Did MS ever even announced they were going to deliver such a product? It's not a cancellation, if it was never on track to be made into a retail product. 

     

     I was looking forward to it either way, but I knew the chances of it never making it to market were high. Looks like an ipad will have to suffice, 

    Nope. They did not. A lot of 'leaks' designed to derail the iPad, but no actual announcement, no.

     

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    RLO said:
    Ray7 said:
    *snip*

    Ray you are right, but I will go one step further.  It's not the company, it's the leadership.  I have seen so many great things come out of Microsoft.  It's only in the past couple of years that I have seen the company move backwards.   Remember, it was youth and innovation that wanted to create and market Courier, you already described what killed it.

     

    Last year when I saw the direction the company started to go down, I started hedging bets and bought my first Apple product, a Mac Mini.  This year I wanted to see how things would shake out and it looks like it's time to buy an iPad and begin learning xcode and opengl.  I doubt I was the only one that said hold on the iPad for the Courier. 

     

     

    Well, yes, it is the leadership. But it's the same with IBM; an enormous talent pool with unimaginative management. Fortunately, that doesn't seem to have hurt the company's bottom line.

     

    All this means that for innovation, the industry has to look elsewhere. But let's face it, since the iPhone landed, the industry has been doing that anyway.

     

    But before jumping to the iPhone/iPad have a careful look around at what other companies are doing and without the kind of restrictions that Apple are imposing.  I'm in no hurry so I'll wait to see what HP does with the Palm thing.

     

    As disappointing as the Courier cancellation is, we have to remember that it was never made it past vapour. We've seen MS do this countless times before so we should know that trying to encourage them to release something as innovative as this was never going to happen. Or perhaps, as many said, it never got past a few clever video simulations.

  • User profile image
    contextfree

    Ray7 said:
    RLO said:
    *snip*

    Well, yes, it is the leadership. But it's the same with IBM; an enormous talent pool with unimaginative management. Fortunately, that doesn't seem to have hurt the company's bottom line.

     

    All this means that for innovation, the industry has to look elsewhere. But let's face it, since the iPhone landed, the industry has been doing that anyway.

     

    But before jumping to the iPhone/iPad have a careful look around at what other companies are doing and without the kind of restrictions that Apple are imposing.  I'm in no hurry so I'll wait to see what HP does with the Palm thing.

     

    As disappointing as the Courier cancellation is, we have to remember that it was never made it past vapour. We've seen MS do this countless times before so we should know that trying to encourage them to release something as innovative as this was never going to happen. Or perhaps, as many said, it never got past a few clever video simulations.

    without knowing what the state of the project was, it's impossible to say whether it was a good idea to cancel.  

  • User profile image
    Cream​Filling512

    Ray7 said:
    CreamFilling512 said:
    *snip*

    It 'could' do a lot of things if:

     

    a/. It doesn't get dropped.

    b/. It's as good the video demonstration.

     

    Nothing about it will be clear until it's actually shipped.

     

    Nah we'll see a ton about it at E3, that's in just over a month.  Natal and Nintendo's 3D autostereoscopic handheld, gonna be an awesome E3.  Should merge everything, do a Courier with Natal motion tracking and auto-stereoscopic 3D, will blow your mind.

  • User profile image
    RLO

    Ray7 said:
    RLO said:
    *snip*

    Well, yes, it is the leadership. But it's the same with IBM; an enormous talent pool with unimaginative management. Fortunately, that doesn't seem to have hurt the company's bottom line.

     

    All this means that for innovation, the industry has to look elsewhere. But let's face it, since the iPhone landed, the industry has been doing that anyway.

     

    But before jumping to the iPhone/iPad have a careful look around at what other companies are doing and without the kind of restrictions that Apple are imposing.  I'm in no hurry so I'll wait to see what HP does with the Palm thing.

     

    As disappointing as the Courier cancellation is, we have to remember that it was never made it past vapour. We've seen MS do this countless times before so we should know that trying to encourage them to release something as innovative as this was never going to happen. Or perhaps, as many said, it never got past a few clever video simulations.

    Ray, I understand your point about waiting.  I don't plan on running out and getting one next week, but it has went up on my index of purchase choices.  This fall will probably be a better gauge on the value of the device.  Up until this point I have been anti-ipad, but I expect to see the education market jump on this.  Textbook publishers are going to be pushing it and tying in textbook software to it as well.  It's a matter of time now.  Apple has already made inroads with iTunes U.  I expect them to get a full educational market synergy going as Microsoft lets all the pieces fall through their hands.  It's a shame really.

     

    As this happens, I have to hedge my bets.  I would still prefer MS products and solutions, but they are often cancelled or re-org'd, then delayed.  In the mean time, Apple is all "shiny" and "new" and "innovative."  When you can point to better products you can slow an organization down from getting too excited and adoptiing early.  When there is no other product and their peers are jumping on a bandwagon, it's kinda hard to explain why they shouldn't too.

     

    In reply to CF:

    I can appreciate the technology that is behind Natal, and I look at it as a stepping stone to the future, although it's amazing it's not very purposeful.  I can see no application of this technology in a classroom or business.  It makes a nifty feature to show off to your friends, kinda like the Wii that gathers dust in most people's homes.  I could even see it being applied in one use situations, kinda like waving your hands and fingers as a password gesture while face recognition confirms who you are.  I could see it applied to a dashboard set up, like Minority Report.  I don't see it being useful in creating a Word document or Excel Spreadsheet until Word and Excel get a new UI interface again and even then, it's going to require you to lift your hands off the keyboard and mouse to manage it.  Something most people won't do because it's unnatural and seems like work when you have become efficient with typing and mouse manipulation.

     

    NUI's are best used in situations designed to take advantage of them.  Usually, in replicating real world interaction with virtual objects.  Something like Courier, benefitted from this idea, because it used some NUI, with a system designed to virtualize the most common object every person in the first world is familiar with: a notebook.   Natal would not be able to do that for the computer until the whole GUI is scrapped and rewritten for it, or you get a reduced task specific version like Media Center .Even then you are going to be limited by what you can do, because it still relies on a keyboard for efficieint input.

  • User profile image
    exoteric

    Ray7 said:
    algorith said:
    *snip*

    Nope. They did not. A lot of 'leaks' designed to derail the iPad, but no actual announcement, no.

     

    The quality of the Courier concept video led me to believe this was on track for the market. It lacked the "Research Concept" label. Fool me twice, shame on me Wink

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    CreamFilling512 said:
    Ray7 said:
    *snip*

    Nah we'll see a ton about it at E3, that's in just over a month.  Natal and Nintendo's 3D autostereoscopic handheld, gonna be an awesome E3.  Should merge everything, do a Courier with Natal motion tracking and auto-stereoscopic 3D, will blow your mind.

    I'd be surprised if it is anywhere near as good as the demo.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    exoteric said:
    Ray7 said:
    *snip*

    The quality of the Courier concept video led me to believe this was on track for the market. It lacked the "Research Concept" label. Fool me twice, shame on me Wink

    Well, I wasn't so sure about the video because it was just a mockup, but when a picture of it turned up on Endadget then I was about 80% sure it would eventually see the light of day. In hindsight, I think this was just a desperate move by MS to slow the iPad before it launched. As it turned out, it was a bit like standing on the track and raising your hand to stop a bullet train. When it became obvious that the iPad was a runaway success, MS simply threw in the towel.

     

    It does show how things change in the tech industry though. I can still remember Jobs standing on stage and thanking Gates for his pocket-change investment in Apple.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    contextfree said:
    Ray7 said:
    *snip*

    without knowing what the state of the project was, it's impossible to say whether it was a good idea to cancel.  

    Well, we can say it would be a good idea to cancel for one reason: It would have put Microsoft head to head with Apple, and in that scenario, Ms will always lose.

     

    The leak to Engadget tested the water, and as we all saw a few days later, it didn't make a ripple against the iPad. Apple has crushed MS in the mobile space, so why generate more embarrassing headlines by releasing another product for Jobs to p**s all over?

     

    He may lack imagination, but Ballmer is a pragmatist who knows when he's beaten.  He cleverly put out feelers, saw he was in for another Apple-slapping, and wisely ran for the hills.

     

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    RLO said:
    As this happens, I have to hedge my bets.  I would still prefer MS products and solutions, but they are often cancelled or re-org'd, then delayed.  In the mean time, Apple is all "shiny" and "new" and "innovative."  When you can point to better products you can slow an organization down from getting too excited and adoptiing early.  When there is no other product and their peers are jumping on a bandwagon, it's kinda hard to explain why they shouldn't too.

     

    Good point, though I tend to avoid MS tech for precisely the reason we're discussing here. The company has been thrashing around looking for direction for years.  It tries something, cancels, tries something else.  I was playing wait and see with Silverlight, and with MS comments regarding HTML5, I think I'll skip it (besides, it's unlikely that Apple will allow it onto the iPad).

     

    Now I think the iPad is just the next stage in what is a brilliant strategy.  Jobs knew (and said) he couldn't attack the Windows monopoly head-on, so he established a beach-head in the mobile space, slowly building strength and support. Then he releases what is essentially a big iPod. Lots of folk (me included) didn't get it, but now I've thought about it, it's a master stroke.

     

    An ex-Apple engineer said it would be easier to carry on working with the iPhoneOS than fix the problems with MacOSX.  Apple has already added multi-tasking. What if, a few years down the line, they completely blindside MS with an ARM-powered laptop running iPhoneOS on steroids; multitouch-enabled and running a new generation of production applications (video editors that you manipulate with your hands?). By this time he will have millions of customers who have become familiar with the iPhone/iPad for who this will be just a natural progression.

     

    Though I still don't want an iPad.

     

  • User profile image
    RLO

    Ray7 said:

    RLO said:
    *snip*

     

    Good point, though I tend to avoid MS tech for precisely the reason we're discussing here. The company has been thrashing around looking for direction for years.  It tries something, cancels, tries something else.  I was playing wait and see with Silverlight, and with MS comments regarding HTML5, I think I'll skip it (besides, it's unlikely that Apple will allow it onto the iPad).

     

    Now I think the iPad is just the next stage in what is a brilliant strategy.  Jobs knew (and said) he couldn't attack the Windows monopoly head-on, so he established a beach-head in the mobile space, slowly building strength and support. Then he releases what is essentially a big iPod. Lots of folk (me included) didn't get it, but now I've thought about it, it's a master stroke.

     

    An ex-Apple engineer said it would be easier to carry on working with the iPhoneOS than fix the problems with MacOSX.  Apple has already added multi-tasking. What if, a few years down the line, they completely blindside MS with an ARM-powered laptop running iPhoneOS on steroids; multitouch-enabled and running a new generation of production applications (video editors that you manipulate with your hands?). By this time he will have millions of customers who have become familiar with the iPhone/iPad for who this will be just a natural progression.

     

    Though I still don't want an iPad.

     

    Ray, the  Courier became real to me when the NYT reported on it. 

     

    You may be right that Ballmer ran for the hills on this, but I would argue if you cripple yourself before you ever get out the door,  you will never beat anyone in any space (See Zune).  If he had actually looked at the influencers with the Courier, he would have seen that there was a larger market that did not want an iPad either.  I know I didn't get a market survey on Courier so without any communication on why this was scrapped, it's going to be hard to see it as anything other than Microsoft being an idiot.

     

    I find it very funny that Apple is using Microsoft's strategy to slowly build itself bigger than MS.  Focusing on pulling one customer group to bring forward another.  MS at its height pulled the business, which in turn pulled the consumer, which in turn pulled the education market.  Apple focused on the consumer group (realizing this is where business leaders are), which in turn pulled the business side (iphone with exchange), and now is beginning to pull on the education side as well.  Microsoft pointed to the diversity of software as the strength of its platform, now Apple points to the diversity of its software as its platform strength.  I feel like I stepped into Bizarro world.

     

    I will agree with you that Apple's future will be iPhone OS.  It just makes too much sense. Keep your software market online and make sure that no viruses/malware can be installed by approving everything that is installed on the device.  All the while making a cut on the developer and buyer.  It's a monopoly, but how is this any different than video game consoles? 

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