Why Microsoft Chose Windows 8 Over Courier

Why Microsoft Chose Windows 8 Over Courier

CNET is delving further into the death of the Microsoft Courier, looking at the differences between Steven Sinoksky and J Allard, who ran the Windows 8 and Courier projects respectively. They say that Sinofsky’s business-minded pragmatism and Windows 7 salvage job ultimately swayed Ballmer to follow his vision.

Jay Greene highlights the different career paths that the two executives took, with Allard chasing after innovative and creative products encompassing both hardware and software, while Sinofsky embraced software-centric projects that were profitable and well within Microsoft’s safety zone.

Fixing Windows coupled with Sinofsky’s track record for producing successful products gave him clout with Ballmer and Microsoft’s senior leadership team, which ultimately decided Courier’s fate.

“Steven (Sinofsky)’s business savvy trumps everyone’s innovative instincts,” said a former Microsoft executive who worked on Courier. “He is soberly looking at how to protect the company.”

After taking over Windows following the mild failure that was Vista, Sinofsky earned praise for reversing public opinion on the operating system and delivering a solid product in the form of Windows 7. Allard, meanwhile, was under fire for the tepid response to the Zune, and the perception that he and his team lived in a proverbial bubble when it came to product development.

Sinofsky had supreme confidence the Windows name could deliver results in the tablet space. Allard’s outlook was a bit more murky, and ultimately, that was the difference.

So what are the two doing now? Sinofsky, of course, is still the head of Windows, and their latest iteration, Windows 8 is shaping up to be an exciting release. Allard, meanwhile, is on the board of directors for the retail site The Clymb. But he’s also investing in another curious project: Tapose. Tapose, if you remember, is a Courier-like app for the iPad which has gained a lot of hype and a lot of funding. Allard happens to be among the biggest private investor. You think he’s still not emotionally invested in the concept? For the rest of the story, check out CNET.