Pitting product groups against one another is almost as much a part of Microsoft's culture as complaining about the employee review system or grabbing a free soda from the employee kitchens.
Win that Darwinian battle and your group can often find itself at the heart of Microsoft's next big product push. Lose, and you can only hope that all of your technological achievement eventually finds its way into some product in some form.
Last year, an innovative tablet concept, borne from the consumer braintrust at Microsoft, was being incubated. The vision of Courier, as the tablet was known, featured two screens, each about 7 inches diagonally. That way, users could research ideas on one screen, while drafting essays, sketching concepts, or brainstorming product plans on the other. It supported both pen and touch computing, and folded in half like a book for storage. The tech press, such as the Web site Gizmodo, which broke the story of Courier's development, raved about the gadget's potential.