Microsoft is ending production of its Kin line of mobile phones, just a few weeks after US launch and days prior to their projected European debut.
That Microsoft would kill a product this early in the production cycle is a stunning change of strategy. Stunning also, given that Microsoft opted for a very different character for these devices: essentially feature phones with rich social networking capability. This approach was strikingly opposed to its traditional it’s-all-about-Windows-OS approach of the past. And it cost the top people in Microsoft’s gaming and mobility division their jobs.
Further, Microsoft’s traditional hardware partner for mobile devices – HTC in Taiwan – has all but abandoned them in favor of Google and its hot-selling Android OS. HTC got PocketPC and Windows Mobile off the ground in the early part of the decade with HP’s striking and successful line of Personal Digital Assistants, called iPaq. Later, they built a long list of mobile devices running the Windows Mobile operating systems and branded by carriers. But, after the solid (if low-key) success of its first Android phone, the Dream device – branded by TMobile as the G1 – HTC has been going to market with its brand in the forefront. Without Microsoft.
Microsoft, once the undisputed king of the industry (not to mention the stock market), looks in total disarray in the mobile space.