Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Microsoft: Want to Learn About Our Secret Tablet? Read Engadget.

Want to get the latest news on “Courier,” Microsoft’s rumored-but-not-confirmed answer to Apple’s iPad? Microsoft doesn’t want to talk about it. But Redmond does have a suggestion for you: Read the gadget blogs.

That’s the advice offered via the company’s JobsBlog, an HR site aimed at Microsoft (MSFT) job seekers. It comes in a post touting Microsoft’s overall awesomeness and the fact that the company is “constantly pioneering the future of technology.”

From the post (thanks to Joseph Tartakoff for spotting):

Do you already know everything about Project Natal and the Cloud? Is Blaise Aguera y Arcas’ jaw-dropping TED talk on augmented-reality Bing Maps and Photosynth last month’s news? Then check out some of the online chatter surrounding new releases of Window Phone 7 series handsets, Internet Explorer 9 and the upcoming Courier digital journal.

The blog hyperlinks “Courier digital journal” to this Engadget post offering “exclusive pictures and details” about the device. There’s a video too, which you can see at the bottom of this post. Looks pretty cool.

Is it the real thing? Device companies and gadget blogs play a weird game about new product releases, and the rules change depending on the company. Apple (AAPL), notably, gives out almost no information to any outlet about what it’s up to, right up until the release of whatever it’s working on. Other companies beg the blogs to promote their stuff. And a middle tier of companies promote their stuff via surreptitious “leaks” they’re happy to see published.

So maybe this is Microsoft’s way of putting its seal of approval on something it can’t officially approve. On the other hand, we should note that the company’s job site is written by a group of Microsoft recruiters, who may not be fully looped in to the company’s device plans and/or communications strategy.

Maybe we’ll find out. I’ve asked the company for comment and will let you know if it has anything to say.

UPDATE: That was quick. Microsoft is sticking with its long-running “no comment” stance.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus