No Microsoft Courier. No HP Windows 7 Tablet. What is Microsoft's Slate Strategy?

As Frank noted last night:

Microsoft Is Not Bringing Courier To Market

He referenced Gizmodo’s breaking news item:

Microsoft Cancels Innovative Courier Tablet Project

where Gizmodo writer Joel Johnson commented: It is a pity. Courier was one of the most innovative concepts out of Redmond in quite some time.

I always thought there was little chance we would see Courier become a product simply because any device with two 7 to 10 inch high resolution touch displays would be prohibitively expensive. People expect slate type devices to start at $499.

Hot on the heels of the Courier announcement was this less expected news from TechCrunch:

Hewlett-Packard To Kill Windows 7 Tablet Project

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington reported: HP is not satisfied with Windows 7 as a tablet operating system and has terminated the project

This is something I’ve commented here several times based on my experience with the Asus Eee PC T91MT which is a multi-touch netbook running Windows 7 Home Premium Edition.

HP will, presumably, pursue a webOS powered tablet (the reason for buying Palm). Other firms will probably use Android or MeeGo (if Intel and Nokia can get the platform production ready real soon). So, where does this leave Microsoft in its bigger-than-a-phone mobile strategy?