Categories

Kin(dling)

Verizon slashes Microsoft Kin phone prices • The Register.

My guess is that Microsoft’s business model for the Kin was always to share revenues for Kin data plans.  Trouble is that users won’t pay high monthly fees for data without a significantly more flexible device.  Thus even making the Kin free won’t get a large user base.

  • Gandhi
  • http://www.asymco.com asymco

    Remarkable that Microsoft (aka the company that (a) always wins (b) persists indefinitely) gave up so quickly and so publicly.

  • Gandhi

    As a gamer, I am also curious to see how long Microsoft sticks to the XBox business. If Kinect fails (and I think it will fail spectacularl), I wonder if Microsoft will even bother with developing the next XBox.

    Tha's three highly visible consumer forays that have failed for Microsoft – Kin, Zune, and XBox (not yet, but I think this is coming too within a year).

  • John

    Isn't Windows System Phone 7 (mix and match names to suit) supposed to somehow share a development platform with XBox? I would be absolutely astonished if they give up on XBox. Kin was both new and largely unknown, and everyone knew it wasn't a key strategic platform.

    Well, maybe Ballmer didn't know, but everyone else knew it.

    I could see Microsoft, in a few years, divest itself of its consumer products (other than Windows/Office) and emphasize the enterprise, but that drastic step surely wouldn't occur until after the failure of Windows Phone 7 (whatever) and a significant loss of momentum with Windows (e.g., perhaps the iPad really does kill netbooks).

    Or, the replacement of Ballmer with a pragmatic visionary.

    • http://www.asymco.com asymco

      Windows Phone 7 is not based on Xbox. It's based on the same OS (Windows CE) as the previous generation of mobile OS (called Windows Mobile 6.5). Although Xbox has not had an overall positive return on investment, it is now profitable. The problem with Xbox is that the entire industry it's in (console games) is likely to grow slowly or fade away as it's replaced with casual/mobile gaming. In this case, Microsoft once again chased a market persistently only to "win" by the time the market ceased to be attractive. Another example was their PDA effort that gained market share leadership just when the whole market evaporated. Microsoft re-used the PDA effort (called Pocket PC) in its mobile phone effort (aka Pocket PC Phone Edition) as they will re-use Kin in the new mobile OS and as they will re-use Xbox in whatever follows. The propensity to recycle code however results in poor user experiences, poor performance and misplaced priorities. Development teams carry agendas and power politics dominate decisions. This is very common at Microsoft and explains much about the absurdly uncompetitive results.

      • John

        I wasn't clear: Microsoft intends for XNA to be used to develop for both the Xbox and Windows Phone 7, I believe; rather difficult to imagine how much synergy one can derive between a gaming console and a phone operating system, but Microsoft seems to want to achieve some of the ecosystem advantages that Apple has cultivated.

      • http://www.asymco.com asymco

        XNA is not, as far as I know, a system level platform. It may allow interoperability of games (or, more likely, the interchange of some game metadata) but that feature, like Xbox connect, is a feature for the most demanding gamers. It does not give me the impression of having disruptive potential–quite the contrary, it's designed to sustain the Xbox console-centric business model.

  • Gandhi

    Andrew Lees headed up the Kin project and now heads WinPhone7. Interesting comments here.

    http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2010/07/kin-fusing-k

    Everything I have heard so far about WinPhone7 indicates that Microsoft's offering will be what the iPhone *was* in 2008, when the App Store was launched. Does not bode well for Micorosft's mobile future (skating to the where the puck will be, and all).

    • http://www.asymco.com asymco

      Comment from the minimsft thread that seems to confirm the strategic flaw with Kin. As much as all the fingerpointing is over execution problems at Microsoft, underlying that is a strategic failure.

      I wonder why in the wake of the Kin debacle everyone is blaming Lees, Ho and Myerson while Matt Bencke is being let off the hook. He was the one who approved the flawed business model that depended on the operators charging MORE for a Pink plan than an unlimited plan. He was the one who approved the business projections based on this fictitious assumption. He is the one who used those projections to get the Danger deal through. He is the one who sold deal to Verizon and Vodafone that Microsoft would be unable to deliver. He was the one who pushed for important features to be cut so a team could be put to work on the "international expansion" that never arrived. 

      http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2010/07/kin-fusing-k

      Interesting

  • Gandhi

    And rumors of only 503 units sold. Wow.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-rank-and

    • Gandhi

      Article linked does not say 503 units sold, just to clarify. Just linked to add more detail on what insiders are saying.

    • http://www.asymco.com asymco

      I think 8k units is the more likely number sold as that is the number of FB users of the Kin FB app which can only be used if you have a Kin. At leas that is what two comments on the minimsft site wrote.

  • John

    Gotta wonder whether someone at Microsoft planted the 503 unit rumor just so they could legitimately claim to have sold far, far more than that, and so people look at 8800 and say "Well, that's not quite so bad."

    • http://www.asymco.com asymco

      8k is abysmal. I think the production rum was a lot higher. In manufacturing, it's very unlikely to start a run for anything less than 50k and that would be for a speculative product. 4k or so would be a prototype run for a large order. I believe iPhone 4 had a few thousand units build just as protos. There are likely to be tens of thousands of Kins sitting in a warehouse destined for recycling. Microsoft has a terrible record with hardware. The kin might just put them off HW devices forever.