Will Best Buy's Kin price cuts be what the doctor ordered?

Will Best Buy's Kin price cuts be what the doctor ordered?

Summary: After some staunch criticism from key gadget-centric bloggers and press, the Microsoft Kin platform -- launched just less than a month ago -- is getting a price cut.

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After some staunch criticism from key gadget-centric bloggers and press, the Microsoft Kin platform -- launched just less than a month ago -- is getting a price cut.

It's not Verizon that's doing the cutting; it's Best Buy. Best Buy is making the Kin 1 available for free and the Kin 2 for $50. (No ridiculous mail-in rebates required.) Verizon is still selling the phones for $50 and $100, respectively.

Yes, the data plan for Microsoft's phones aimed at the teen/20-something market is still pricey, but at least the phones aren't if you get them at Best Buy.

"The price cuts could help: they make the Kin 1 a free phone, and while it's not as functional as a high-end smartphone, it's better than a lot of the basic phones that most carriers give away for free," said Directions on Microsoft analyst Matt Rosoff. "The data plan still seems a bit steep, but if it's purchased in the context of a family plan, it's not so bad."

While Microsoft has been trying to downplay the differences between the Kins and other Windows Phones, the different operating systems they run and the fact that no apps are available for the Kins has led many to scratch their heads about Microsoft's wisdom in further diluting the Windows Phone brand at the very time the company is attempting to consolidate its mobile marketing message and strategy. Microsoft Regional Director Andrew Brust, in an open letter to CEO Steve Ballmer about Microsoft's consumer strategy, suggested Microsoft "kill the Kin quietly."

"I think Microsoft is committed to seeing the Kin through and giving it the best possible chance to succeed at market, but I really think that Windows Phone 7 is the core of the company's smartphone strategy, and I'd expect most of the company's energy to go into promoting that platform once it comes out," said Rosoff.

What do you think? Is the Kin a help or a hindrance, in terms of Microsoft's attempt to reverse its eroding mobile market share?

Topics: Operating Systems, CXO, Microsoft, Mobility, Software, Telcos, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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24 comments
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  • The price cut is just to ditch inventory ahead of discontinuing the Kin.

    NT.
    DonnieBoy
    • It's a firesale

      This is a firesale. Clearance of junk stock.

      The Kin is an industry joke. So limited. You can Google to read about its missing features and what it can't do. These hobbled handsets should be withdrawn from sale.
      Vbitrate
      • Yes, how DARE someone release a crippled phone

        @Market Analyst
        Oh... wait... you iPhone guys are [b]still[/b] waiting for iPhone to catch up to the rest of us. I really hope for your sake you [b]finally[/b] get multi-tasking this year. It's a great feature. I know, I've had it for years on Windows Mobile... you know... the smartphone that [b]isn't[/b] crippled!

        Cue the double standards...
        NonZealot
      • Once again, you have something in common:

        Market Analyst, you the [b]ZDNet[/b] joke!

        You're much more like MS then you would ever admit

        LMAO! ;)
        John Zern
      • Actually Market Analyst, Nexus One was a firesale

        as it seems they were forced to give them away! :)
        John Zern
    • Happens with Android devices all the time

      Opps, Sorry DB, I wasn't supposed to bring that little fact up. A Nexus One, anybody...<br><br><img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy">
      John Zern
  • RE: Will Best Buy's Kin price cuts be what the doctor ordered?

    Verizon's required data plan is still what will kill these phones. The phones are great and you could say revolutionary as far as the UI goes, but as long as Verizon is requires the data plan then these phones won't sell as well as they'd hope.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Agreed

      One would have thought/hoped that M$ would have worked with Verizon to create better stratification of data plans. Something along the lines a $20 a month that includes a modest amount of data usage as well as unlimited text would have been nice. Moreover, it's a joke that I can't buy a modern smartphone that lets me text and pay-for-drink Internet usage.
      jjworleyeoe
      • RE: Will Best Buy's Kin price cuts be what the doctor ordered?

        @jjworleyeoe <br><br>But it looks like Microsoft is defending the high data pricing: <br><br><i> Microsoft senior product manager Greg Sullivan - .....once customers "realize the value of this, they'll realize it's a great deal.</I>

        http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/12/microsoft-and-verizon-say-kins-monthly-pricing-isnt-crazy-whe/
        dave95.
      • And Apple defends its crazy pricing

        @dave95
        So what's the difference? Oh, right, you worship Apple. I forgot.

        Cue the double standards...
        NonZealot
      • RE: Will Best Buy's Kin price cuts be what the doctor ordered?

        @NonZealot

        Must you constantly interject with your zealotry?

        I don't recall Apple releasing a feature phone at the time everyone was using smart phones, and requiring users to buy the same expensive data plan as full feature smart phones. Even MS staunch supporters can see this as a big fail.
        dave95.
  • They say it's for a specific demographic...

    if that's the case, why not give a try and see what happens? You never know, the price cuts could cause it to catch on.
    rjohn05
    • Specific demographic .... advertising dangerous behaviour

      The kin is for teens and pre-teens, but the ads are about girls visiting that STRANGE OLDER GUY who you meet in Facebook.
      wackoae
  • RE: Will Best Buy's Kin price cuts be what the doctor ordered?

    How is the Kin like Fillet Mignon?

    You have to wrap a Fillet in bacon to sell it, and you have to wrap a Kin in a ten dollar bill to clear it out...
    tburzio
  • KIN is the orphan phone that nobody wants

    What on earth was Microsoft thinking, releasing the KIN?

    KIN is an orphan, which has no next of kin. It is incompatible with the current Windows Mobile. It is also incompatible with the future Windows Phone 7.

    Billed as a social media phone, yet it can't do Twitter properly. Billed as "always on", yet it has a 15 minute delay to update messages. Billed as "smart", but it can't run apps, failing the very definition of a smartphone.

    Time to put the awful orphan phone out of its misery.
    Vbitrate
    • Kin is no where near a smartphone

      If anything, it is just a toy with a very expensive monthly bill for useless features.
      wackoae
    • Wow, does that take me back 3 years!!!

      @Market Analyst
      [i]Billed as a social media phone, yet it can't do Twitter properly. Billed as "always on", yet it has a 15 minute delay to update messages. Billed as "smart", but it can't run apps, failing the very definition of a smartphone.[/i]

      Gee, sounds [b]exactly[/b] like the iPhone when it first came out but people [b]swore[/b] that it was just perfect!

      Cue the double standards...
      NonZealot
      • Aren't you ashamed of always ...

        ... coming out as the clueless fanatical idiot??

        Dude, have some personal dignity. Take your meds at least 30 mins before posting.
        wackoae
  • Imagine the joy on the kids faces...

    on Xmas morning.
    "Kids, I didn't get you the iPhone, but I did get you this. It's a Windows 7 phone with Microsoft branding and Zune services.
    Hold our for Windows Mobile 7. It'll revolutionize the whole world, and stuff.
    HollywoodDog
  • RE: Will Best Buy's Kin price cuts be what the doctor ordered?

    I see Kin as live market research, but it exposes pricing issues with all smart phones. Once unlimited texting and web become low enough, the flood gates will open up for smart phones.
    rmark@...