Interesting article over on CNet (I'm still mad at them BTW!) about why there is no Microsoft tablet today.
In Tracy Kidder's book Soul of a New Machine
there's a discussion about all the things that need to come together before a new computer actually makes it "out the door." Many of them have to do with internal politics; integration into existing product lines; and not cannibalizing your other businesses. Few have to do with pursuing technical excellence, embracing innovation, or providing radically better products.
The following account (if in fact true) answers the classic question of why the better mousetrap catches fewer mice.
(Answer = because it didn't get built.)
Link to full article here
The inside story of how Microsoft killed its Courier tablet
by Jay Greene November 1, 2011 5:01 AM PDT
Steve Ballmer had a dilemma. He had two groups at Microsoft pursuing competing visions for tablet computers.
One group, led by Xbox godfather J Allard, was pushing for a sleek, two-screen tablet called the Courier that users controlled with their finger or a pen. But it had a problem: It was running a modified version of Windows.
That ran headlong into the vision of tablet computing laid out by Steven Sinofsky, the head of Microsoft's Windows division. Sinofsky was wary of any product--let alone one from inside Microsoft's walls--that threatened the foundation of Microsoft's flagship operating system. But Sinofsky's tablet-friendly version of Windows was more than two years away.
For Ballmer, it wasn't an easy call. Allard and Sinofsky were key executives at Microsoft, both tabbed as the next-generation brain trust. So Ballmer sought advice from the one tech visionary he's trusted more than any other over the decades--Bill Gates. Ballmer arranged for Microsoft's chairman and co-founder to meet for a few hours with Allard; his boss, Entertainment and Devices division President Robbie Bach; and two other Courier team members.