Microsoft isn't using the "K" word - Kill, that is - but it appears that's what the company is doing to its KIN mobile phones, just six weeks after they hit retail shelves. Details are sketchy because Microsoft isn't really saying much beyond a three-sentence statement from "a company spokesperson" that, quite frankly, says it all:
Microsoft has made the decision to focus on the Windows Phone 7 launch and will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones.
So there you have it. Maybe the rumors were true. The buzz last week was that Microsoft had only sold 500 KINs. Nope, I didn't leave out a zero or two. That's Five Hundred. Yup, that's it.
The KIN, of course, was supposed to be targeted at the teenage audience but that had trouble written on it from the very beginning. Teens don't need scaled-down smartphones. Some of their parents might need one - but teens today are savvy enough to be using iPhones, Android devices, BlackBerrys and other higher-end devices.
Microsoft should have known that.
Maybe this was the smartest move that Microsoft could have made. Microsoft could have kept pouring money into the KIN lineup but bloggers like me would have probably just mocked them for standing by a loser. Instead, Microsoft appears to be cutting its losses and spinning those KIN resources into the launch of Windows Phone 7 later this year.
The person in Redmond who suggested that strategy deserves a raise.