Coffeehouse Thread

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How the Microsoft Courier project got canned

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  • User profile image
    AndyC

    The problem with Courier is that, cool as it appeared in video, it really was ultimately just a souped up PDA (but presumably without much battery life). And a PDA that you can't even read email on at that.

    Can't help but think Gates was probably spot on the money by putting an end to it somehow. Wheter or not Sinofsky's attempt with Windows 8 will do better is a whole other question of course.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , ManipUni wrote

    Good job losing my posts C9. Forget it then...   

    The short version was: Internal and external competition is healthy. It results in better products. That is why Apple is so successful. The iPhone competes with the iPod, and the iPad competes with them both. The iPad also competes with a Macbook. The Macbook competes with the iMac, and Apple TV competes with everything I just listed. 

    Microsoft's lack of internal competition results in worse products brought to market and lazy staff. 

    Mmm. Dunno. Apple does not have that much internal competition. They have a single unified strategy that everyone works to, and unlike Microsoft they're perfectly happy to throw stuff away and do start again. 

    That stuff about the iPod competing with the iPhone etc. is partially true though (since it's likely that many people who bought an iPad may have decided not to buy a Macbook), but they always knew there would be canibalization across some of the lines, but that was decision that the company took as a whole (by which I mean, Jobs took the decision for the company as a whole) and not as a result of internal competition. Interesting when reading this stuff about the Courier because it seems that MS is scared of doing anything that would risk the Windows hegemony. Yes, I guess you could call that a unified strategy too.

     

     

     

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , AndyC wrote

    The problem with Courier is that, cool as it appeared in video, it really was ultimately just a souped up PDA (but presumably without much battery life). 

     

    You mean like…an iPad?

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    , AndyC wrote

    Can't help but think Gates was probably spot on the money by putting an end to it somehow. Wheter or not Sinofsky's attempt with Windows 8 will do better is a whole other question of course.

    Define "do better" - I'd like people to stop claiming certain releases of Windows are a "success" simply because of high sales - I'll need them to show that they weren't sales Microsoft would have gotten anyway simply by virtue of Microsoft's latest OS being the default OS for the majority of computers being sold.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

     

    Mmm. Now if only I could fold an iPad without using a Black and Decker workbench and a mallet.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    , Ray7 wrote

    *snip*

    You mean like…an iPad?

    But the iPad isn't (and never was) sold as a PDA type device. Probably because it'd be awful at it. It was more a web-browser which also runs your iPhone apps and games. And you can read email on it!

    , W3bbo wrote

    *snip*

    Define "do better" - I'd like people to stop claiming certain releases of Windows are a "success" simply because of high sales

    Sales are the only thing that matters. When you look at them you can see Vista did poorly, wheras Windows 7 did well. Absolutely no other metric means anything at all, it's about selling product, not some grand higher purpose or something.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    As much as I would have loved a Courier device, Gates was right and Allard was a moron. Web mail instead of a dedicated e-mail client? Stupid beyond belief. The device didn't have to run full blown Office, just enough to be on par with WP7 would have been enough. Notice that an e-mail client compatible with Exchange is included there? The fact that this is what killed the Courier just tells me we're better off with out Allard.

  • User profile image
    cbae

    , Ray7 wrote

    *snip*

    Which they will be unlikely to do because they will not want to make something that would cost significantly more than the competition. The Windows OEMs aren't the most innovative bunch, let's face it.

    Some are more innovative than others.

    After re-watching that Courier video, I realize that there's more to Courier than just dual displays. If what is displayed on the two panels are individual windows from two separate application processes, then these windows need to be able so support a drag drop-type operation using a flick gesture. Somehow, I don't think the sand-boxed nature of Metro-style applications would lend itself for this type of operation. If what was displayed on both panes were own by the same process, then it still wouldn't be possible since Metro-style applications have to live full-screen in one window.

    The conclusion is that Metro-style apps cannot support Courier-like functionality even if OEMs like Toshiba did produce more Libretto-type devices for Windows 8.

  • User profile image
    kettch

    @cbae: I think the closest you are going to get is a full screen application that divides itself into two panes. With the aspect ratio of Windows tablets, that might work ok. But definitely no folding device.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , AndyC wrote

    *snip*

    But the iPad isn't (and never was) sold as a PDA type device. Probably because it'd be awful at it. It was more a web-browser which also runs your iPhone apps and games. And you can read email on it!

    Not sure what the iPad is if it's not a PDA-type device. Folk sit on trains arranging appointments, sending emails, surfing the web and playing games. That's about as personally digital as you can get. 

    Your comment about the Courier was exactly what people said about the iPad when Apple was telling us how magical it would be. 

    Yes, the lack of an email client (what?) was a really bad idea, but I doubt they would have stuck to that. At one point, Apple thought that they wouldn't allow third-parties to write apps for the iPhone. They changed their mind and the rest is history.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    , cbae wrote

    *snip*

    Some are more innovative than others.

    But most, aren't.

    What I try to remember about the courier is that we only ever saw video demos. There would have been no guarantee that it would have worked anywhere near as well, especially when it relied so heavily on handwriting recognition.

     

  • User profile image
    Proton2

    A lot of people complain that the BlackBerry PlayBook doesn't have a native app for email.

    I don't complain about it because I rarely use email, a couple of emails a year from non microsoft sources is about it.

    I did get an email from my brother the other day saying that there was a problem with his computer. I emailed a suggestion that he should reboot the computer. I went downstairs later to check and see if that had fixed the problem. Smiley

  • User profile image
    Proton2

    I imagine that once Intel's Haswel comes out in about a year, new devices like this will be more plausible, especialy when the 14nm process node tech comes online.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    all I know is you will get two battery hungry screens with complex duel screen UX code. And all I am doing is watching video in one side of the screen.

    And the major fail is "designed for creations" when most windows home user are "consumers". They They are major status update publishers,but, they consume most of the time, including the important gaming.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    @magicalclick:

    Also I think it is better go with another ms research. The back input. Instead of dule screen, simply using back input for creation, like back keyboard, back game controller, and even extra back gestures. Low power, same thin design, cheaper, single less confusing screen, single large screen.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    LarryLarsen

    @spivonious: When I played with this at CES I found it to be one of the most innovative experiences of the year for a folding laptop form factor. Viewing web pages on it was just breathtaking, and you could bring up a keyboard by putting all your fingers on the bottom screen at once. While I have never seen one in the wild, they do appear to be available. Too bad it doesn't have a pen digitizer.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    @LarryLarsen:

    I tried it in Microsoft Stores. Honestly, nah. Cool to show off, but, compare to a real notebook, nah. We ended up buying the 700USD Toshiba notebook, best bang for the buck in the entire store.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
    Last modified
  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Ray7 wrote

    *snip*

    Mmm. Now if only I could fold an iPad without using a Black and Decker workbench and a mallet.

    Buy two and a roll of sellotape and hey presto - a folding super tablet thing.

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