Microsoft killing its 'Kin' social network phone

Microsoft on Wednesday said that it is killing the Kin line of mobile telephones it unveiled in April to win over young people enthralled by online social networking.

"Microsoft has made the decision to focus on the Windows Phone 7 launch and will not ship Kin in Europe this fall as planned," the US technology giant said in an email response to an AFP inquiry.

"Additionally, we are integrating our Kin team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from Kin into future Windows Phone releases."

Microsoft added that it will continue to work with US telecom service provider Verizon to sell Kin smartphones that have already been made.

The "Kin One" and "Kin Two" phones, which both feature touchscreens and slideout keyboards, were being manufactured by Japan's Sharp and were made available in the United States through Verizon Wireless in May.

"I am surprised the product ever saw the light of day," said analyst Matt Rosoff of Directions On Microsoft, a private firm devoted to tracking the US technology colossus. "I am not surprised they killed it."

The Kin smartphone platform launch had been delayed and competed with Windows Phone 7 devices due for release later this year.

"It made no sense for them to release Kin in the first place," Rosoff said. "This is what they should have done all along."

Eliminating Kin models after less than two months on the market could mean that sales were dismal and that Microsoft wants to fold any related financial loss into its fourth fiscal quarter, which ended Wednesday.

"It seemed like the news caught even the Kin team by surprise today," Rosoff said.

Kin smartphones had been introduced at a press event by Robbie Bach, who is being replaced as president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division as part of a shake-up announced in May.

Microsoft is replacing top executives at its gaming and mobile devices division, which has stumbled in the smartphone and tablet computer markets.

Bach, 48, will retire by year's end from his post. Bach joined the company in 1988.

Entertainment devices chief technology officer James "J" Allard will also leave Microsoft, becoming a strategic adviser to chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Products launched by the division include Xbox 360 videogame consoles, blockbuster videogames, and Zune gadgets for digital music and video.

Don Mattrick will remain head of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business and Andy Lees will stay in charge of the Mobile Communications Business but both men will report directly to Ballmer as of July 1.

"I suspect this is Ballmer taking a very close look at the mobile business and making some decisions about what stays and what goes," Rosoff said of the Kin news.

Microsoft's videogame business has been doing well, with strong sales of Xbox 360 consoles and titles.

Microsoft grabbed headlines in mid-June with "Kinect," technology that lets players use Xbox 360 consoles with natural gestures instead of handheld controllers.

It is in the hot smartphone and tablet computer markets that Microsoft has suffered setbacks that had industry insiders convinced that mobile division executives were in Ballmer's crosshairs.

Apple iPhones have become must-have devices and Google is seizing market share with smartphones based on its Android software.

Long-time Microsoft partner Hewlett-Packard recently announced it is acquiring Palm and intends to use that company's operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.

Microsoft's new version of its Windows mobile operating system due for release later this year "is going to be a big reset" but will come after iPhones have had nearly four years to win fans.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity for someone wi...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Analyst

    £20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Managed IT Services Provid...

    Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

    £20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Designer / Developer

    £12000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: New Full-time, Part-time and Fr...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific