A handful of executives who had worked on Microsoft’s dead project, Courier, have converted to become workers at companies that produce the same technology for Apple tablets. Now the dual-screen tablet technology is alive and kicking in iPad land. The team that once made up Courier at Microsoft are responsible for it vitality.
Just take FiftyThree Inc and Tapose as examples. The former has a few ex-Courier personnel, along with Xbox guys, developing and designing the app called Paper. The latter is headed by J. Allard, also a former Courier slave, now set free to do as he wishes in Apple land.
Courier’s target was to become an app to give dual screen capabilities to tablets. Up till 2010 it was sanctioned by Microsoft, who then cut it loose. Pioneer Studios also faltered in the wake, around May 2011. They had been responsible for such hits as Mobile, Zune, and Xbox consumer experiences.
The guys who were dropped when Pioneer Studios were severed, found their way into FiftyThree, which derives its name from the mystical number of centimeters measured from brain to heart to hand.
Allard, however, advises and finances Tapose development. He had been the chief experience officer at Microsoft and lead executive shepherding Pioneer Studios. When the Courier project was axed, Allard left, forcing the collapse of Pioneer Studios at Microsoft.
It was Allard who had a meeting with Bill Gates for a final evaluation of the suitability of Courier to the Microsoft empire. Ultimately, Allard failed to convince Gates. The chief disparaging factor was the lack of email support, though Courier was not designed to be a PC replacement of any sort. The concept was to put a gadget in the hands of designers and architects. Alland was hired, after all, to draw in Apple aficionados. In fact, other Microsoft staff had a bit of disdain for Alland, because he used iPod and Mac personally.
Microsoft could have had the Courier ready ahead of the iPad 3 launch, but now, if they are going to compete with Apple at all on this level, they will be far behind everyone in the game. This seems to be par for Microsoft lately.
As for Tapose, its iPad app broke loose March 27 and can be had for a mere $2.99. They did indicate an interest to port it to Windows 8. However, Microsoft is placing its bets all on Windows 8. More unfortunately sounding like the evil land in Lord of the Ring, is the codename for a Courier-like feature in Office.
We wouldn’t have expected any different from the Redmond Washington giant. They are allergic to style, creativity, and fashionable computing. While they think of themselves as the functional and more practical software apps developers, everyone knows how obtuse their user experiences are. They are riding on their monopoly, which unfortunately, the judicial systems have no way of reigning in. So we can only watch and wait for the cool Apple apps and cheer on the truly creative geniuses.