Is Microsoft killing the Kin already?

Is Microsoft killing the Kin already?

Summary: There is news coming out that Microsoft may be killing off the Kin and rolling the team into Windows Phone 7. This is understandable given the rather limited enthusiasm for Kin and need to focus efforts to take on the iPhone and Android platforms.

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While the idea of a socially connected phone targeted towards the younger "upload generation" sounded like a good idea, the high cost of data, additional Zune services, and actual limited social networking support made the Kin a device that few seem to have embraced. I gave the Kin One and Two to my daughters to use for a week and neither were that enthusiastic about the device. I tried it out, but also did not like the limited social networking functionality and inconsistent user interface. It is a tough sell to convince people to buy a Kin when there are more capable smartphones in the same price range with the same monthly data fees and free streaming music. Thus, it is no real surprise that Gizmodo posted news that the Kin is dead and will not be shipping to Europe or have a team dedicated just to the Kin. CNET also reported that Microsoft made the following official statement:

We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 and we 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.

The Kin (aka Pink) phones and operating system were under development for years and it is sad that they are going away so quickly after launch. I do think there is some pieces that may be salvaged and rolled into Windows Phone 7, but Microsoft really does need to focus on a single strategy if it hopes to challenge Google Android and Apple iPhone in the smartphone market. It is actually pretty surprising that they made this costly decision so quickly and may actually gain them some favorable points with smartphone enthusiasts who probably prefer they focus rather than drag on with a limited phone platform.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Collaboration, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Smartphones, Telcos

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20 comments
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  • Kin is dead. Windows Phone 7 will be next to go.

    Windows Mobile is dead.
    Now Microsoft's new Kin phone is also dead.
    Soon Windows Phone 7 will go the same way.

    The problem with Kin and Windows Phone 7 is the same. Both have a long list of missing features, combined with a high price. We know WP7 will be priced high due to the hardware specs.

    Microsoft can't make phones that consumers want. It is years late, so it rushes to market with unfinished products that are missing features. That's why Windows Phone 7 won't last either.
    Vbitrate
    • Sure, M.A. but then, you can't make comments that people

      take seriously, either. Market Analyst, yet you still try, and try, and try. And it seems that honest to goodness <font color="green"><b><i>real</i></b></font> market analysts disagree with you.
      John Zern
    • RE: Is Microsoft killing the Kin already?

      @Market Analyst
      >>The problem with Kin and Windows Phone 7 is the same. Both have a long list of missing features, combined with a high price. We know WP7 will be priced high due to the hardware specs.

      Show me the list of the features that users want other than multi-tasking, copy and paste and local RDBMS. All these three are coming after the first version of the phone hits the shelves. These updates will be OTA. consumers don't have to buy new phones for this. And regarding rededicating KIN staff for Windows Phone 7 makes sense because Microsoft has long list of apps that the consumers want along with phone is released on day one. Do you need reference for this, please please learn to read first, check this link http://www.windowsphone7.com/ineedthisapp/#pbbh810p
      Ram U
      • RE: Is Microsoft killing the Kin already?

        @Rama.NET
        You are kidding right? You mean the lack of copy/paste, no multitasking, no backwards compatibility with WP 6.x?

        We won't discuss MS trying to pay developers to write for WinPhone7? And failing miserably as few developers want to devote resources from the cash cows (iPhone and Android) to another failed project by Microsoft.

        Windows Phone 7 will be DOA - RIM Owns the market, iPhone is a solid #2, and Android is nipping on the heals of both. Where does that leave WP7? DOA.

        WP7 will last a year and the plug will be pulled.
        itguy08
      • RE: Is Microsoft killing the Kin already?

        @itguy08
        >>You mean the lack of copy/paste, no multitasking, no backwards compatibility with WP 6.x?
        You mean iPhone had copy/paste and multitasking from day one. It took them 2 generations and multiple updates to the then iPhone OS. And for multitasking then you are not good unless you have 3GS at least. Regarding 6.x backward compatibility, I too feel something missing, but it is no biggie when it comes to real effort because the apps were either developed using unmanaged platform or .NET compact framework. It is not a biggie to port a good number of apps to Win Phone 7 because this supports full .NET framework with Silverlight 3 fully and Silverlight 4 partially. Microsoft documentation helps a lot to migrate the apps to newer platform. If you still feel like you want help to migrate your apps, please contact me and I can help.
        Ram U
  • RE: Is Microsoft killing the Kin already?

    The Microsoft hat trick: build something behind the curve, make it more expensive then better alternatives, and then abandon your loyal customers
    ThePrairiePrankster
  • RE: Is Microsoft killing the Kin already?

    I see the 'softies are alreadyy cleansing the boards of non-conforming opinions, my non-spam post was marked as spam by some redmondians....LOL
    ThePrairiePrankster
  • Good News.

    I'm sure Sharp was a big proponemt of this idea, but its nice to see the focus going towards WP7.

    And to think that Verizon thought they could actually sell their data plan?

    I guess you have to have faith in the service provider, but still...
    John Zern
  • What is with this company?

    Mobile is growing more important on a daily basis and MS can't seem to make something that people want.

    I don't even understand why a single additional Windows Mobile 6 phone or a Kin will be purchased. Android-based phones or Blackberry or iPhone are smarter [pun intended] choices.
    davebarnes
    • RE: Is Microsoft killing the Kin already?

      @davebarnes
      I haven't read the line saying Microsoft is killing KIN officially from Microsoft. All it said was they are using the KIN staff to work on Windows Phone 7. This makes sense, Windows Phone 7 is the primary platform and both KIN are Windows Phone 7 use the same underlying technologies. Microsoft has a lot big request for the apps that the users want to see when it gets shipped, and they need more volunteers to fill that. It is someone like "Body waste Analyst" sees issue because s/he/it has issues with Microsoft probably s/he/it is getting paid by competing platforms or Microsoft fired her/him/it from their payrolls.
      Ram U
    • I'll tell you what is wrong with this company...

      @davebarnes
      They have the worst marketing team in the world. Zune was miles ahead of the iPod when it came out, not that anyone knew about it.
      NonZealot
      • Msft spends 3 times on Advertising than Apple.

        @NonZealot <br><br>Apple fiscal 2009: 501 m vs Msft 1.4 billion ad budget<br><br>Even Dell with something like nine times smaller market cap than Apple spends more on advertising (800 million) than Apple.<br><br>Apple spends almost the least amount of money of ads if you count profit of any of the big tech companies.<br><br>Money of course does not contradict your statement that Msft marketing sucks (in spite of the big bucks.)
        Davewrite
      • Glad you added this

        [i]Money of course does not contradict your statement that Msft marketing sucks (in spite of the big bucks.)[/i]

        Absolutely right. It does go beyond advertising though and is also about branding. Buying an Apple product makes people feel like they are joining some elite club which is ironic considering Apple's marketshare in media players and smartphones.

        Of course, it doesn't hurt Apple (or help MS) that 99% of the blogosphere makes it their daily mission to apologize for Apple and denigrate MS because that is the "cool" thing to do and raises click counts.
        NonZealot
      • Zune? Hardly

        @NonZealot
        How was it better than the iPod? Squirting songs? WiFi that was useless? Subscription music?

        The 10 people that bought Zunes probably love them. The rest of the world bought iPods, Zens, Sansas, etc.
        itguy08
  • No big deal, Kin was just a hobby anyway

    Hey, that excuse works for AppleTV.

    Cue the double standards...
    NonZealot
    • Except they've sold 6-10 million Apple TVs vs 500 kin.

      @NonZealot <br><br>July 2009 analysts estimated 6.6 million Apple TVs will be sold by year end. So probably more by now . At that time Kindle sales estimated at 2-3 million (Kindle touted as Big Hit).<br><br>Business Insider est. 500 kin phones sold with no refute from Msft. Maybe they sold more but no where near Apple TV.

      :)
      Davewrite
      • Glad you admitted that you have absolutely no proof

        Both your 500 number and your 6.6 million are total conjecture and you can't back up either of them. For all you know, MS has sold 6.6 million Kin and Apple has sold 500 Apple TVs!

        :)
        NonZealot
    • stupid logic

      starting from the fact the AppleTV il alive & well, so there is no apologist apologizing; so nobody is saying well, it was a hobby.
      ...so beside you saying that Kin was just a hobby, I dont see any other apologist using that as an argument.
      So, where is the double standard?
      theo_durcan
    • Help me out here NZ...

      @NonZealot

      How exactly is the AppleTV product relevant to the cancellation of the Kin?
      oncall
  • RE: Is Microsoft killing the Kin already?

    Should be retitled as "Verizon forces Microsoft to kill the Kin". On the bright side and despite Verizon's tactics, Microsoft now has an advantage for Microsoft Windows Phone 7. The Kin's UI was great and they can take that UI and the sync stuff and mesh it with Phone 7. They will also know not to do business with Verizon anymore.
    Loverock Davidson