Microsoft pulls plug on Kin phones

Microsoft has pulled the plug on a new generation of smartphones less than three months after unveiling the devices that were part of its efforts to catch-up with Apple and Google in the fast-growing mobile market.

Microsoft said on Wednesday it had cancelled plans to sell its "Kin" phones in Europe this Autumn. The company added the internal team working on the Kin phones would be combined with the group working on Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Phone 7 software.



The move underscores the challenges facing Microsoft, whose software is used on the vast majority of the world's PCs, as it strives to adapt to consumers' growing taste for handheld internet-connected gadgets like smartphones.



In April, Microsoft said it was shelving an internal project to develop a tablet PC similar to Apple's iPad.



Last month, Microsoft reorganized its mobile phone and video game division, announcing that longtime Microsoft executive Robbie Bach would retire and that the senior vice presidents in charge of phones and games would report directly to Chief Executive Steve Ballmer.



Ballmer is "looking at the (mobile) business, seeing what's making money, what makes sense to do going forward," said Matt Rosoff, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft.



The Kin phones represented software giant Microsoft's first foray into designing its own phones. The two Kin models featured built-in Internet social networking functionality as well as Microsoft's Zune digital music player and were aimed at savvy young phone users.



Microsoft began selling the Kin phones with Verizon Wireless in May. Verizon Wireless, the largest US wireless operator, is a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.



But Rosoff said the phones lacked certain key smartphone functions, such as the ability to install software applications, yet had wireless data service plans that were priced comparably to more full-featured devices like Apple's iPhone.



The Kin was also based on a special Microsoft software called Windows Phone OS, even as Microsoft prepared to release the new Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system. Smartphones running Windows Phone 7 are expected to be available this holiday season.



"Windows Phone 7 is the real mobile strategy," said Rosoff. "The fact that it (the Kin) was ever released in the first place was a mistake. When they went with Phone 7, they should have quietly killed this project."



Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney said that the Kin remains an important part of the company's "portfolio."



The smartphone market is exploding. According to research group Gartner, global sales rose nearly 50 percent in the first quarter.



Microsoft had a 6.8 per cent share of the global market for smartphone operating systems in the first quarter of 2010, according to Gartner. Google's Android had 9.6 per cent, Apple's iPhone had 15.4 per cent, while Blackberry-maker Research in Motion had a 15.4 per cent share and Nokia's Symbian software had a 44.3 per cent share.



RBC Capital Markets analyst Robert Breza said that the battle to win the smartphone market is still in its early stages.



"With their vast amount of resources, I would never want to count out Microsoft," he said. "They can acquire their way into it. They can approach it in a different strategy."

News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEpic YouTube video features boundary-pushing staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    PHP Developer - MySQL, RDBMS, Application Development

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: PHP Developer - MySQL, RDBMS, Applicatio...

    SAP Business Analyst - Data Migration, £75,000, Manchester

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP B...

    SAP Data Migration Consultant, circa £65,000, Manchester

    £55000 - £75000 per annum: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP Data Migration ...

    SAP Data Migration Consultant, circa £65,000, Manchester

    £55000 - £75000 per annum: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP Data Migration ...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
    Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

    Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

    Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
    Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

    Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

    Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
    Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

    Spanx launches range of jeans

    The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
    10 best over-ear headphones

    Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

    Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
    Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

    Commonwealth Games

    David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

    Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star