Microsoft Dashes Dreams Of "Courier" Tablet PC

What a wild week in technology it has been. Sony has been sued, HTC now has to pay Microsoft each time they sell an Android phone, Adobe and Apple are publicly humiliating one another, Palm was purchased by HP, and now Microsoft has decided against following the herd and producing a tablet of their own. Wait, what?

For those who don't closely follow Microsoft's every move, the death of a product you've never heard of probably comes as somewhat of a shock. You weren't hidden under a rock or anything, it's just that Microsoft never actually came forward and confirmed that a so-called "Courier" was a real product before. Well, until they did so today by announcing that the very product that had been rumored for years was in fact no longer moving forward towards production.

The tale is a long and winding one, but the story sadly ends today. Well, at least for now. Or so they say. It's a confusing story that has an even more confusing conclusion, particularly when you consider that just about everyone is either already planning to enter the Tablet PC arena or is shipping a tablet as we speak. Microsoft has never been one to back down; they introduced the Zune even in the face of unsurmountable competition from the iPod, and Windows Mobile was effectively put on the back burner as they created Windows Phone 7 to compete with iPhone OS, WebOS and Android. So, why pull out of the Tablet sector?

Photo credit: Engadget

For those who don't know the backstory, whispers had told that Microsoft was secretly planning to release their own tablet PC, the "Courier." Renders even emerged, and many were hoping this would be the "iPad killer" we're all still waiting for. When Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer arrived at CES with a tablet on hand, many just knew it was the Courier's turn to shine; instead, the HP Slate was revealed. A fine machine, but certainly not one with the hype of the Courier. The renders looked amazing, and the user interface honestly looked like nothing the world had ever seen. Now, we may never see it in reality. Frank Shaw, the lead of Microsoft's PR department, came forward today with this statement:

"At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested and incubated. The 'Courier' project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings."

Of course, Microsoft may restart the project at any time, but it's not likely in our estimation. Tablet PCs have never been hotter, and there's no better time to jump on the bandwagon than now. Waiting five years probably isn't the smartest move to make, so if you were hoping for a Microsoft-branded tablet, you should probably try to put it all behind you and move forward. Tough news to hear, we're sure.