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Category: Tech

Microsoft Kin’s Early Demise

Written on July 02, 2010 by Japhet Writ

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In just two months, Microsoft announced that it will no longer ship Kin units to Europe. Who's responsible for Microsoft Kin's early demise?

It is sad to hear that two months after its release, Microsoft already phased out the . Targeting the young generation called “upload generation,” the is definitely short lived. It seems that ’s target demographic is not happy with the product at all.

Due to a not-so-strong sales, Andy Lees – SVP of Microsoft Mobile Division – canceled the existing product launch in Europe and integrated the in Microsoft Phone 7 team. As stated in Microsoft’s official statement, “We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 and we will not ship in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones.” Roz Ho, the master behind the Kin Project, will oversee the team’s move over to Windows Phone 7.

But what really causes Microsoft Kin’s early demise? The trouble started long before the rumored (the codename of Kin) started swirling. Microsoft’s decision to create a platform agnostic and cloud-centric feature phone gave birth to these devices. Kin is the type of feature phone that could have a relatively low cost with teens and young adults as the target market. The trouble begun when Microsoft acquired Danger to leverage the work it had done with the Sidekick Platform and aligning with Verizon as a launch partner. Verizon could have offer attractive pricing plans for the Kin devices to the huge pool of consumers.

However, Lees pulled everything back and instructed everyone to rebuild the OS based on Windows CE and not on Dangers proprietary Sidekick OS. This move caused a great delay, making Redmond’s carrier partner soured on the deal altogether. With so much frustration, Big Red pulled out the bargain-basement pricing it first offered.

Now with the Kin team being refocused onto project, rumors says that Steven Sinofsky – president of Windows and Windows Live groups – is making an attempt to bring to market a unified and Window-centric product line. If these rumors are true, a cloud- and mobile-centered Windows 8 release can possibly happen.

Looking at the big picture, it seems that the company is at a serious flux state at the moment. However, knowing that the company is capable of great things, we are hoping that Windows Phone 7 will master through this mess.

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