CNet: The Inside Story of How Microsoft Killed Its Courier Tablet

Interesting reporting by Jay Greene for CNet, but I’m not buying it that Courier was near completion. This, to me, is damning:

When Courier died, there was not a single prototype that contained all of the attributes of the vision: the industrial design, the screen performance, the software experience, the correct weight, and the battery life. Those existed individually, created in parallel to keep the development process moving quickly. Those prototypes wouldn’t have come together into a single unit until very late in the development process, perhaps weeks before manufacturing, which is common for cutting-edge consumer electronics design. But on the team, there was little doubt that they were moving quickly toward that final prototype.

“We were on the cusp of something really big,” said one Courier team member.

One prototype that looks right, one with the right screen, one that has the right software, one that has the right weight, and one with the right battery life. Just mash them all together in a few weeks and you’re done. Sure.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011