After several years in development, and a billion dollars spent on the project, Microsoft pulled the plug on the Kin handset project after only two months. But how many handsets did Microsoft sell in that time?
Well, blogger John Gruber got word from a tipster that Microsoft had shifted only 503 handsets in that time. That's a really low, and depressing number.
However, it seems that this number is out by a couple of orders of magnitude. The clever chaps from pocketnow.com took a look at the number of active users for the Kin Facebook app and found 8,810 monthly active users (oh, and three friends).
Billion dollars spent, 8,810 handsets sold, that makes each handset worth ... lemme get my calculator ... $113,507!
This still leaves open the possibility that many of these users are testers linked in some way to the Kin project ... it'll be interesting to see how these numbers change over time. What this does is give us a clue as to the ballpark figure for the Kin user marketshare ... and one thing's clear, it's small.
Maybe if people hold onto them for a while, they'll be worth something one day. Or maybe not ...
So, what went wrong with Kin? Why did this project explode in Microsoft's face so badly? I don't think it was one thing in particular:
- Primarily, Microsoft missed the mark in terms of the handset. Kin was too little, too late.
- Microsoft misunderstood the teen/tween/social market. The Redmond giant blundered into this market in an ugly, comical way and tried to be cool, like a dad might at a kid's birthday party.
- The handset was priced badly.
- Verizon helped in the death of Kin by shackling it to a smartphone contract.
Truth though is, 500 or 10,000 sold, this was still a FAIL of epic proportions for Microsoft. The Redmond giant now wants to put this whole Kin fiasco behind it and put focus onto Windows Phone 7. But apart from Xbox, Microsoft hasn't had much success when it comes to hardware, so i wouldn't go betting the farm on this project right now either.