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05.01.10

Microsoft Has Just Shot the Courier (Yet Another Dead Product)

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 7:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Courier or postman

Summary: Microsoft’s huge list of dead products and divisions expands further as an attempt to challenge GNU/Linux (and Apple) falls short of arrival

THE “Courier”, which we called "Vapourware" just two months ago, never existed. No, really, it didn’t. Microsoft does not want anybody to know about this failed experiment, which was mostly about buzz and showoff at the time. Microsoft does not want the world to know that it runs away with its tail between its legs because GNU/Linux and hypePad are too strong a competition, so the news about “Courier” dying only came through unofficial sources. Gizmodo is cited by everyone as the original report.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Microsoft has cancelled Courier, the folding, two-screen prototype tablet that was first uncovered by Gizmodo.

We’re told that on Wednesday, Microsoft execs informed the internal team that had been working on the tablet device that the project would no longer be supported. Courier had never been publicly announced or acknowledged as a Microsoft product.

Will Microsoft start bullying Gizmodo like Apple does (to identify leakers, for example)? Or it is more familiar with the ‘Streisand effect’? As a recap, see:

We have more on that string of stories coming shortly.

Anyway, the big news is that Microsoft has just declared/rendered another one of its products “dead”. It’s part of a trend as the company goes deeper into debt and it cannot afford to bring to market ideas that are too risky (as they would almost certainly fail).

Surface failed badly in the market and Microsoft wanted to axe it before its arrival too; it only survived because Bill Gates personally insisted on it, despite Bach’s advice (a correct intuition in retrospect).

Speaking of failure, Microsoft loves to tout just one product as a success these days; it’s called Vista 7 and just like Windows Vista it leads Microsoft to bragging with fake numbers (which we explained in [1, 2, 3]). “Success Delayed is Failure,” is what Pogson called the tricks Microsoft uses.

The last quarterly report looked good only if you ignore the inclusion of deferred licences from other quarters for “7″. The next quarterly report will be more honest. I look forward to the end of April.

The failure of “Courier” is not necessarily a great sign for hypePad, which is overpriced when one considers what Apple does for price fixing/price elevation in so-called ‘content’. As Slashdot put it yesterday, “Apple Raises E-book Prices For Everyone”

“Tablets and E-readers which run Linux are coming from many directions right now, including ASUS and Dell.”Slashdot says that Apple is also shutting down Lala, only months after it acquired it. Too much of a competition? A few months ago we explained that Microsoft (and Apple) promote the MPEG-LA-LA Land and that Apple would destroy Lala. We turn out to have been right all along now that Apple is mercilessly killing Lala, which poses a challenge to Apple’s other business models and partners. A friend told me today about Apple killing or blocking applications that give people access to low-cost or no-cost literature (I had not heard about the company that he mentioned until then). Apple is essentially fighting for Hollywood and against the developing world, as it would keep access to knowledge limited, even with strictly proprietary and patented codecs. It’s not entirely surprising given Apple's connections in the entertainment industry, which in turn offers positive coverage for the hypePad (it’s a reciprocal relationship and Apple usually appeals to the mass media).

Later on we are going to elaborate on Apple's fresh attacks on software freedom. Tablets and E-readers which run Linux are coming from many directions right now, including ASUS and Dell. We typically give such examples in our daily batches of links, but here we present 3 new examples separately.

ASUS has a Linux-powered tablet coming:

It looks as if ASUStek is coming back into the fold of FLOSS with a new product this summer, a tablet-format PC. If it runs Android, is it ARM-based? Amen! That may be the best way for an OEM to escape Wintel.

Dell has a Linux-powered “Slate” coming:

A leaked slide from Dell’s mobile roadmap deck shows 5 inch and 7 inch slates running Android and MeeGo, a 3G slate bundled by Vodafone plus two ARM-powered 11 inch ‘smartbooks’.

There is also JooJoo, which has just been covered by ZDNet UK:

The device is a rival to the iPad. It has a larger screen than Apple’s slate, with a standard 16:9 ratio. It also runs a version of Linux, unlike the iPad, which runs the same operating system as that used by the iPhone handset.

As Jan Wildeboer (of Red Hat/Fedora but speaking for himself) pointed out some hours ago, “nobody offers windows tablets. That’s the message.”

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