Microsoft Isn't Planning On Making Any More Cellphones

Microsoft never really has had much luck in the phone market. Not the mobile OS market, mind you, the phone market. Recently, Microsoft attempted to reach the "tween" market with the launch of the Kin. The Kin lineup initially consisted of two phones on Verizon, both of which required pricey $30/month data plans just like a proper smartphone. Needless to say, sales were terrible considering the value proposition, and two months into their life, Microsoft pulled the plug. Kin no longer lives, and neither do hopes of Microsoft ever trying again.


Or, at least that's the current plan. Tivanka Ellawala, the chief financial officer of the company's Mobile Communications Business, recently told investors at a conference in San Francisco that his company simply wasn't interested in the hardware game again. Here's his quote, which came after being asked to address rumors that the company was considering making another run in the handset-making business: "We are in the software business and that is where our business will be focused."


That sums it up. Honestly, it sounds like the right decision. Usually it's always better to have more competition, but with so many great hardware makers already on the market (Samsung, Apple, LG, HTC, etc.), there's hardly room for more right now. And plus, Microsoft would have had a tough time managing two separate mobile operating systems, with Kin and Windows Phone 7 soon to come. It may be sad to hear for those that actually enjoyed the Kin, but it looks like Microsoft's days in the phone hardware business are all but history. But of course, history can always change down the road.
Comments
inspector 4 years ago

Ya, smart plan. Better to back off now before they end up screwing them self over. Stick with software and come up with something ever better for our next operating system!

3vi1 4 years ago

>> It may be sad to hear for those that actually enjoyed the Kin

Only 503 people bought the kin. I've not seen any numbers substantiating that anyone actually enjoyed it: http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-only-sold-503-kin-phones-before-pulling-the-plug-a-well-placed-little-birdie-told-daring-fireballs-joh-2010-7

You really think these were aimed at the tween market? I constantly saw the commercials, and they all featured hipsters in their late twenties.

The problem with the Kin is that Microsoft put out a half-baked interface (which uses the same major components as Win Phone 7) that couldn't make calls without navigating through menus... wasn't great for texting... didn't have a calendar ... or a calculator... or app store... or good integration with *any* non-MS services. The hardware was not the major problem, the problem is that Microsoft refused to release a product that used cross-platform standards and instead wanted everything tied to their proprietary technologies.

How did Microsoft make such a flop? Easy: Microsoft never innovates, so they bought a company that was actually making something new. That company was Danger. After acquiring Danger for about $500M, MS decided it would be brilliant to force the developers to rewrite their already working Java code so that it was a Microsoft SilverLight app on top of the WinCE kernel. So, there go a few wasted years where the interface devolved for no reason other than to gain lock-in for MS. Add to that some extra crippling to be dependent on their cloud services, and add an extra $15 for the Zune music pass, and you have a real winner.

Of course MS fixed all this by having a couple of people resign. Windows Phone 7 will be much different, except that it's also a SilverLight platform that will be changing every 15 minutes as Microsoft constantly shuffles their interface APIs such that you need to buy a new phone every year with a "new" underlying OS.

lonewolf 4 years ago

Companies need to innovate yes, but when another company already has an established brand and product it makes no sense to try to gain market penetration when this factor is present, unless again you can make this product as revolutionary as Apple did with the I-Phone.

acarzt 4 years ago

It was poorly advertised and it cost too much(for it's target audience).

They teamed up with facebook to do that little experiment of meeting your facebook friends in real life.

I watched a few of the clips and it took me a little while to realize they were trying to sell me that stupid phone. And it took me even longer to realize it was Microsofts stupid phone.

I had no idea what company made the phone and all along I was thinking "No one is going to want to buy some no name brand phone..."

Had Microsoft moved they name to the front and let everyone know it was their phone... more people probably would have bought it.

digitaldd 4 years ago

A fiend of mine's wife who happens to be technically challenged liked her Kin Two better than the Motorola Droid she had prior to it. Her take on the phone was that it wasn't too complicated to use for simple things like updating Facebook or pulling up a website to check something quickly.

 

I think the main reason for Microsoft to leave the Phone Hardware business is to not destroy the relationship they have with hardware vendors. If MS continued to make Phone hardware I'm sure that many of the big phone manufacturers would scrap any Windows Phone 7 devices and concentrate on Android only, essentially shooting themselves in the gut.

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