Microsoft had long been rumored to be planning a tablet computer called the Courier, a Windows-running gadget akin to Apple's iPad. The Courier's two small screens, which would fold along a spine like a journal, had generated a great deal of excitement. But now the Redmond giant has killed the Courier. Why'd they do it? And what does it mean?

  • Why Everyone Is Disappointed  Ars Technica's Peter Bright mourns, "Courier was a concept that had a lot of people excited. Project videos showed a rich, if complex, user-interface that seamlessly melded multitouch gestures with pen-driven data entry, coupled with attractive graphics and an unusual dual-screen form factor. ... As well as the complex UI, the hardware itself was desirable. The renders of what Courier hardware might have looked like showed a leather-bound book-like design. It looked expensive and attractive, with clean lines, two 7-inch screens, and a camera."
  • How Microsoft Can Learn From This  Gizmodo's Joel Johnson looks ahead. "It is a pity. Courier was one of the most innovative concepts out of Redmond in quite some time. But what we loved about Courier was the interface and the thinking behind it—not necessarily its custom operating system. In fact, it makes sense for Microsoft to continue to trim away splinter versions of its core operating systems and focus on Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7 unity across all its devices. Hopefully some of the smart thinking we have seen in Courier will find its way into Microsoft's tablets, whether they're powered by Windows 7 or Windows Phone 7."
  • Microsoft Must Keep Pace With Apple, Google  The Telegraph's Shane Richmond warns, "Meanwhile, Apple is preparing for crowds tomorrow as it launches the 3G version of the iPad and Google is reportedly working on a tablet of its own. Can Microsoft catch up?"
  • iPad Competitors Have Ways To Go  Mashable's Stan Schroeder shakes his head. "All those devices that were supposed to 'kill' the iPad now have to be rethought and redesigned, because no one was really sure what Apple planned to do with the iPad. Sure, it now seems obvious (it’s a big iPhone, duh), but history repeats: When iPhone came out, it took the competition years to catch up."
  • Microsoft Can Still Innovate  Chris Pirillo isn't losing faith. "My mind boggles as I struggle to come up with the possibilities of what we may soon see. These companies know that they have to come up with something truly new, different and genius in order to begin to compete with what Apple has done. I know that the technology and the brains to put it to use are out there. I can’t wait to see what they come up with, can you?"
  • Was Courier Just A Marketing Ploy?  CrunchGear's Matt Burns suspects Microsoft never really planned a mass release. "The auto industry has been doing it for years. Some of the concept cars that are rolled into auto shows are fully-functional models, complete with advance drivetrains and electronics. But yet they never hit the streets in a mass-market form. Perhaps the Courier was always designed as such, a technology research project and/or marketing ploy. It always seemed like a 'don’t forget about ol’ Microsoft' item anyway."