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Microsoft announced today that it has closed Pioneer Studios, a small contingent studio in downtown Seattle it has operated for the past three years, stating it's part of "a broad consolidation of workspaces over the last 18 months."
The company also confirmed "most employees" have been moved to other locations "to continue their work as a team" so it would appear at least some dodged the axe.

Formed by J. Allard during his days overseeing Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, Pioneer Studios was designed by local architectural firm, SkB Architects, to be a place where employees could "breathe a culture of innovation into the all-too-often stolid company." Basically, they came up with consumer gadgets like the aborted Courier.

Pioneer was one of many idea incubation groups at Microsoft, including FUSE Labs, The Garage, Startup Business Group and The Hardware Incubation Lab.