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Microsoft Kills the Kin 351

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-hardly-knew-you dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "The Microsoft Kin is dead, or at least it doesn't have a future as a standalone product. Microsoft released a statement suggesting that it's cutting bait on the Windows Phone 7 spinoff and folding the project's staff and technologies into the main body of Windows Phone 7. For now, it seems like Verizon Wireless will continue to sell Kin phones. But with the Kin team essentially disbanded, it's hard to see future updates and support for the line being a priority within Microsoft."
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Microsoft Kills the Kin

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  • Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @07:29PM (#32751866)

    The Kin can be summed up with the following:

    a.) Name was horrible and made no sense.
    b.) What was the point of the device again?
    c.) Ads were annoying and made no sense

    So in essence this is just another typical Microsoft device. le'sigh.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @07:30PM (#32751870) Journal

    So this was basically the Zune of phones?

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @07:34PM (#32751904)

    Seriously, they expected people to walk into a store and chose this over, say, the Droid/Milestone or the Palm Pre Plus?

  • Re:Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @07:38PM (#32751936)

    Kin was another MSFT project that was doomed from the very beginning. Crappy looking phone, bad marketing message, 1/2-hearted attempt to enter a market with far superior products. I'm starting to sense a pattern here...

  • Cutting Bait? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frostfreek (647009) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @07:44PM (#32751978)
    I don't understand fishing metaphors! Seriously. What is that supposed to mean?
  • Next of Kin? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BearRanger (945122) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @07:47PM (#32751996)
    That would be Windows Phone 7. Thanks to Android it's likely to meet a similar fate.
  • by fermion (181285) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @07:49PM (#32752010) Homepage Journal
    When I saw the ads I thought the Kin was something that MS did right. I am surprised that they did not succeed. The massive ad campaign should have been enough to make a dent. What I did no realize is that to use the phone the way it is intended, with unlimited texting and such, the recurring billing from Verizon would be well over $100 a month.

    This is a phone for kids and young adult. How many of these are able to afford more than $100 a month for a phone. My first mobile phone was $50 a month, and that was when I was working at higher than minimum wage. Sure the ads depict kids with unlimited resources who can afford to take cabs around the city and fly all over the country, but that is like a TV where people with no visible means of income can afford spacious NYC apartments. No one takes it seriously, or maybe they did.

    I think this is another case of people worshiping verizon no matter how little sense it makes, thinking that if they can cut a deal they wil automatically become successful. I keep asking if one wants to sell phones to a market that does not already have smart phone saturation, why not go for Cricket or Boost? They could keep the recurring to something a young adult could have a chance of keeping up with.

  • by Daneurysm (732825) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @07:50PM (#32752016)
    To be honest, if Microsoft didn't exist until recently I bet they'd be a very innovative and nimble company.

    ...so much baggage in that company. Think of all of the windows tablets...it was the general consensus that tablets were an answer searching for a question. Someone else made that happen. Think of how long ago Windows phones started appearing. They tried so hard and perhaps succeeded very successfully to maintain their 'windows experience' across these three 3rd cousins platforms...to no avail.

    Nearly 2 million Iphone4's sold in a few days time, over 100,000 Android activations a day, "blackberry" is now a verb...Hell, even the great-grandchild of the Palm Pilot made a more significant dent in the market years after schooling Microsoft in a different (but related) market years earlier.

    ...such interesting times.
  • by sortius_nod (1080919) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:04PM (#32752100) Homepage

    Unfortunately having such a narrow scope you're relying on the whims of a specific subset of society and effectively alienating any possible fringe markets. I doubt this product would have made a dent in any market to be honest, it seems like it was more of an half baked marketing development than anything else. Even if the target market isn't exactly tech savvy, they aren't going to buy into something that's not at the top of it's class. The Kin was far from top of it's class.

    As a comment on Engadget said today "a dumbphone with a smartphone pricing plan". Pretty much sums up why MS dumped it.

    What does concern me is that MS are doing a lot of big announcements then dumping the designs. The Courier being the most notable of recent years. It seems that with Steve "Chairman" Balmer at the helm they're sailing into stormy waters.

  • Re:That was fast (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:10PM (#32752118)
    Perhaps the kids they were marketing it to realized that if they were going to have to pay a smartphone data plan they might as well just get a smartphone that actually has apps and a future.

    Really, Android phones are cheap these days and even the crappiest of Android phones can do more than Kin can.
  • by Facegarden (967477) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:21PM (#32752204)

    ... but I've only been seeing ads on TV for the Kin for about 2-3 weeks....

    That's the crazy thing... it's only been *on the market* for 2-3 weeks. They basically killed it right away.

    Engadget covered this a bit better, but basically through bad project management, they delayed the whole thing by 18 months, and a LOT has changed in the smartphone space in that time. If they had come out with it 18 months ago, it might have made sense.

    Now even microsoft is coming out with a new mobile OS, it really doesn't make sense to support two, and Verizon was pretty upset that microsoft delayed it so long, so they didn't give microsoft the low plan pricing they originally planned for.

    All in all, it never made sense to anyone, and now its gone. Its like the palm Foleo all over again.

    -Taylor

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:24PM (#32752226)
    Microsoft seems to be willingly blind to what their users want and what is out there though. It seems to take a financial failure before they will wake up. Simply doing a crap job copying an existing product isn't going to earn you any customers, you have to be better and that is where Microsoft's things fail in most cases. And yes, Office is making MS quite a bit of money, but once word gets out about Google Docs and OOo, the case to use Office keeps on becoming less and less for most users.

    I don't see Microsoft making a decent phone anytime soon because it keeps trying to emulate BlackBerry, the iPhone, Android and WebOS and failing at all of them. Microsoft will never get the reliability of BlackBerry OS, Microsoft can never reach the cult-like status of Apple, it can't just decide not to include a major feature like Flash, Multitasking, copy/paste, etc. until a future software update and expect people to buy it, Microsoft can never reach the level of appeal of the Google cloud services nor the openness of a Linux-based OS, and Microsoft will try, but fail to reach the level of ease of use of WebOS just like they tried to copy OS X and failed.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:33PM (#32752278)
    How are you surprised? What did the Kin do when compared to Android? For about the same price, someone could have gotten an Android phone, lets see here:

    Apps, Android has a lot, Kin had none.

    Flash, depending on the phone Flash could be possible on the Android phone, it was impossible on the Kin

    Browser, I have no doubt that Android's browsers were better than what was on the Kin

    Etc.

    The only thing that would have saved the Kin would be a reduced price data plan which didn't happen. It wasn't Verizon that was the main problem it was a phone that did less than the comparable Android phones for the same required data plan. Yes, Verizon could have easily helped it work, but it was MS that created such a niche-less device in the first place.

    As for the $100 statement, when you figure in all the things it can replace its probably cheaper today to get an "everything" plan than a home phone, cable and internet plan, plus, its a lot more convenient.
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:39PM (#32752314)

    d.) The hardware is ugly as sin. What the hell were they thinking?
    e.) Why were they making it a separate OS platform to begin with? Is that just an admission that they couldn't modify any of their existing or in-development mobile platforms enough to accommodate the new features?

  • FUD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:55PM (#32752420) Homepage

    Isn't it great that MS is creating their OWN FUD these days?

    They need a serious shakeup over there.

    Attempt at taking over the web with .Net: FAIL

    Attempt at killing Flash with Silverlight: FAIL

    Attempt at killing the iPod with Zune: FAIL

    Attempt at Killing the iPhone with Windows7/Kin: FAIL

    I hope IE9 takes HTML5 seriously, because people are no longer afraid to install their own browser. Their assumed dominance could turn into another big FAIL.

    At least Active Directory and SQL Server still hold a pretty solid place in many corporations.

    Where did they go so wrong?

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:16PM (#32752536)
    Withe pretty much any other thing you can name, I can own more than one, even if they do the same thing but slightly differently.

    Two cars if I can afford it? One's a pickup and the other's a Mini? Can do.
    Hi-tops, oxfords, and sandals? A big TV and a little TV? No problem.
    But for just personal use I can only really have one mobile phone. If I want two phones I'd have to pay an additional fee and have an extra phone number that I don't need.
    If I was heavily into social networking, having a phone designed from the ground up just for that could be handy. But I'd still want a "real" smart phone that's good at everything else. If I have to choose between one or the other, I'd take the smart phone that's just OK at social networking.

    If they want things like the Kin to work, they need to let users have more than one phone on the same number. Only then will people other than tween girls buy a "fun" phone along with a "real" phone.

    .
  • by OgGreeb (35588) <og@digimark.net> on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:24PM (#32752578) Homepage

    IMO Microsoft just made their mobile platform problems worse. They spent all that time, money and effort to roll Kin out,
    made deals with other companies, blew out a huge advertising campaign, and then waited all of about a nanosecond to
    kill it.

    Every Kin cell phone buyer is now locked into a (usually) 2 year contract to use and pay for a phone with no future. Didn't
    they do the same thing with OEMs and end-users of their DRM'ed PlaysForSure music?

    Why in the world would anyone be stupid enough to skip over all that and buy into Windows 7 Phones? -- Because *this*
    time they'll get it right and not drop the tech at the first sign of turbulence?

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:26PM (#32752582)

    why they released this product in the first place? Is their management really so out of touch they thought this had potential?

    They paid a small fortune to buy Danger and the Sidekick platform, and couldn't admit that they got taken and bought something that was obsolete, if transiently popular at the time they bought it. Notice that Robbie Bach, MS VP of entertainment and devices, the guy who made the call to buy Danger, was eased out of the company a few weeks ago.

  • Verizon (Score:2, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:45PM (#32752712) Journal
    No doubt Verizon is thrilled about this news and eager to back Microsoft's next effort with lots of co-marketing dollars, shelf space and sales face time after spending many millions up front for an exclusive. Developers must be lining up three deep.
  • by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @10:26PM (#32752930)
    the guy was kind of stalking his ex-girlfriend or something? Wow, who'd imagine that would fail?
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @11:15PM (#32753186) Journal

    The ads looked good

    Both times I saw the Kin ad, I said to myself "you've GOT to be kidding."

    A guy shooting pics of his ex-girlfriend?

    That's just creepy. So you lose the women.

    The message it sends is "guys who have a Kin are losers!" So you also lose the men.

    So who was the target market? Stalkers?

    At least that foolishness never made it to Canada.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MoxFulder (159829) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @11:17PM (#32753198) Homepage

    Agreed on the ugliness. There's a reason that phones that look like this always suck:

    What's the point of making it slide out at all??? When you're using it, it's bigger, uglier, and more awkward than a regular non-sliding Slate phone. When you're fumbling for it in your pocket, it's roughly squarish, so you never know which way is up. Humans like non-square aspect ratios (photos, display screens, book pages) for a reason... what a dumb design.

    Also, what does this phone do that the way-less-hyped messaging phones from Japanese makers like Samsung can't do?

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @11:30PM (#32753264)

    From what I know the Kin wasn't a good product missing social features despite being marketed as a social phone.

    • No apps or app store
    • No calendar or way to sync a calendar
    • No IM client even though the ROM supported AOL IM, MS IM, and Yahoo IM
    • No spelling correction or corrective text
    • No expansion slots
    • Only syncs contacts with Facebook and Hotmail directly but not Yahoo. Gmail is through a workaround

    The Zune was a decent player but it was always behind the iPod. The original Zune was on par with the iPod Classic at the time but it didn't really differentiate itself. The only major advantage of the original Zune (squirting) was so crippled as to be useless as a feature. The 2nd gen Zune were much better than the iPod Classic. Unfortunately they were not better than the iPod Touch which released a month before them. With the Zune HD, MS finally has matched the iPod Touch. The problem is that in all the iterations of the Zune, MS never developed the Zune to be more than a media player whereas Apple has designed and marketed the iPod Touch as a media and app platform. Apps give the Touch much more functionality that the Zune can't match and it appears that MS is years away from even starting to match this.

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @12:08AM (#32753458) Journal

    Microsoft has a really tough time coming up with anything with a future outside of Windows Desktops. Even that was suspect for a while when Vista sucked so horribly badly for so godawfully long.

    They've had OVER A DECADE to get Windows Mobile "right". I have a Winmo 6.0 phone, and while it's quite capable, it's also clear that a designer never got anywhere NEAR it. Buttons move randomly. It's slow. Some buttons (EG: green "call" button) work the same everywhere except where they do something else - a result that's immensely maddening. I could be looking at a number that I KNOW is a cell phone, but I have no way to simply send a text message to it without exiting everything and go back in through contacts... as one of too many examples to name.

    Future?

    Remember Plays4Sure? [wikipedia.org] It was Microsoft's answer to the iTunes store, and it almost worked. Numerous music manufacturers were beginning to rally behind it, until Microsoft came out with their Zune, which didn't use PlaysForSure at all. Instead, it had its own marketplace!

    How much louder of a vote of "no confidence" could Microsoft give their own product than to refuse to use it in their own development? To this day, you can't buy music with Microsoft's music store and have it work on their own player.

    You can't make up this kind of ineptitude.

  • by ppanon (16583) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @01:49AM (#32753816) Homepage Journal
    Nah. Although, IMHO, they've moved and hidden too many things to "simplify the interface for new users", Windows 7 is actually a pretty decent product, especially compared to Vista's lackluster efficiency/performance. People have been waiting to upgrade past XP - some have jumped to Apple, and a few have moved on to Linux. However there's a lot of pent-up demand for something better than XP. Windows 7 pretty well sells itself once people become aware that it's available and doesn't require a machine with enough power consumption to make a noticeable increase in their monthly electric bill. The Windows 7 ads may also be better than the ones for Vista, but that doesn't mean they don't suck.
  • by wickerprints (1094741) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @01:59AM (#32753850)

    Danger/Sidekick was a thriving platform long before MS bought it and ran it into the ground. Under the right management, it could have been THE dominant mobile device for the 15-25yo market. Problem is, neither Danger nor MS anticipated the impact of the iPhone. They had a good thing going--the Hiptop has been around since 2002; the platform was innovative and mature. The first iPhone came out, sans 3G, in 2007, and the App Store didn't even exist until mid-2008, a few months after MS acquired Danger. There was PLENTY of time to adapt and compete. And it didn't happen.

    Then MS mismanagement caused the server failure and data loss in late 2009 that basically killed what little was left of the Sidekick. The real story here is not that MS got taken--it's that they not only failed to capitalize on their acquisition, but they actively fucked up what assets they acquired. They basically let the Sidekick wither on the vine by diverting resources to develop "Project Pink," which is--wait for it--the Kin. Worked out really well, didn't it?

    MS *has no mobile strategy.* NONE. They are flailing desperately, and this latest debacle has only proven to the consumer that MS mobile products are NOT to be trusted. As a consumer, what does hearing this news tell you? MS might as well post a gigantic banner saying, "if you buy our phones today, don't count on them being supported tomorrow." Windows Phone is next to die.

    People like to make fun of Steve Jobs and his "reality distortion field." I think the real RDF is around Ballmer, who has surrounded himself with lackeys and yes-men, executives who are in it for the money. There is this pervasive belief that MS can compete in any tech market by way of throwing money at every situation--that they can succeed simply because they are MS. Those tactics may have worked a decade ago, but times have changed.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gtall (79522) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @04:46AM (#32754470)

    Could you kindly stop with the Business School Product exhaust? I feel unclean.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday July 01, 2010 @09:20AM (#32756784) Homepage

    Problem is, neither Danger nor MS anticipated the impact of the iPhone.

    This is what it comes down to. The Sidekick was a pretty good platform for the pre-iPhone days, as were Windows, Palm, and Blackberry. However, the iPhone pretty well blew everyone out of the water in the consumer market. Blackberry held its own in the enterprise market, but they're faltering. Everyone else realized that they had to revamp to take on the iPhone, which resulted in Android phones.

    Sorry to the Apple haters, but they really did change the mobile landscape. Microsoft hasn't kept up.

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