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.
The decision process regarding mobility at Microsoft from 2005 has been a classic example of paralysis by analysis. Trapped by their processes and resources into doing horizontal solutions for a world that buys vertical integration, Microsoft was bound to fall into a trap. Like a wounded beast, it is not dying predictably but with spasms. Rather than concluding that Pink and Zune are part of a fucked up process or evolution, they should be seen as terminal convulsions of WinMo.
Credit to Dilger for going further than anyone in tying Pink, WinMo and Zune.
If I may summarize, the problems Microsoft faces are:
- A reliance on a horizontal business model at a time when modular product “turns” are not fast enough vs. integrated/vertical models. Just look at Dilger’s mobile OS history graph and measure the “cycle time” of each product rev for the competitors.
- An economic model that implies there is value in a mobile OS (something PalmSource and Symbian figured out to be dead ends long ago, not to mention OpenWave, SavaJe and a few others long forgotten.) Microsoft, a company that grew by disruption at the low end (vis. Lotus, Novell, IBM, etc.,) is unable or uncaring enough to sense when it’s being disrupted the same way.
- Competitors that combine into a pincer movement from above (Apple) and below (Google) with a fortified alternative incumbent (Nokia, Microsoft’s original target) still standing. Unlike previous single competitors in each category Microsoft conquered, the mobile world presented a more diverse (and perhaps wiser) front.
I won’t get into Microsoft’s dysfunctional culture as that’s been covered brilliantly by others.