when the Zune
phone was a hot news topic? Those days are long gone.
Even as Windows Mobile 6.5 plunges
in marketshare and Microsoft hurries to finish
its replacement in time for the holidays, it's trying to
come to grips with the loss of its first mobile phone hardware
project -- Kin.A summary
article of the Kin debacle over at Mini-Microsoft,
a blog site that follows Microsoft closely, had some stinging
commentary, purportedly from Microsoft employees or those close to
the company.States one apparent former employee:
I can say as a former Windows Mobile employee who is now working for
a competitor in the phone space is that this is good news for the
rest of us...Personally I quit because of the frustrating management
and autocratic decision style of Terry Myerson and Andrew Lees. The
only exec in the team myself and other folks respected was Tom
Gibbons who is now sidelined. Lees and Myerson don't know consumer
products or phones. Gibbons at least knows consumer product
development. We often talk about how Andrew Lees still has a job but
Microsoft's loss is a gain for the rest of us.
Lees is a Microsoft Senior VP in the Mobile Communications
(Kin, Windows Mobile) department. Terry
Myerson is listed as a Microsoft Corporate VP of Windows
Phone Engineering.Other commenters, apparently close to
Microsoft leveled similar charges. One states:
now Kin is killed *after* it has shipped in June 2010. You can bet
Andy was involved in the development of Kin, the partnership
agreements with the OEM, Verizon and most importantly the "ship
it" approvals all along the way. And Microsoft discovers its a
bad idea after it blows up in the broad market. Absolutely no thanks
to any pro-active decision making on Andy's part... Based on his past
performance, 99% chance this is also going to be a total catastrophe.
It further doesn't help that much of the Windows Phone 7 leadership
team was kicked out of Windows when they screwed up Vista.
person who identifies themselves as a former Danger employee (see
below for the Kin-Danger connection) remarks:
is a] dysfunctional organization where decisions were made by
politics rather than logic.
would be very easy to blow off such criticisms as sour grapes of
ex-employees or even people posing as employees with no real
knowledge of the company. However, the fact is there does
appear to be something badly wrong at Microsoft's phone division, and
that lends the complaints a bit more plausibility.The strange
journey of Kin began with the purchase
of Danger, makers of the Sidekick, in Feb. 2008.
Microsoft reportedly paid
$500M USD for the company that in its best year made $54M USD in
revenue, but overall had lost $188M USD. Despite those
questionable metrics, at the time the move was viewed as perhaps wise
-- it gave Microsoft a hardware team with which to directly attack
Apple's iPhone.Two years later the child of that union,
out onto the scene on the Verizon network. The Kin
One was priced at $49.99 and the Ken Two sold for $99.99. Both
phones were marketed with a curious campaign of a jilted lover
apparently stalking his ex-girlfriend. Take it
from Apple or Palm --
good -- or bad -- commercials can make or break a campaign (granted
the blame here only partially rests on Microsoft for approving the
commercial, and certainly equally is the fault of the ad firm).
But perhaps more damaging than the bizarre ads was the fact that the
phones were utterly unremarkable, serving only as a mediocre
Facebook-enabled smartphone.Within 45 days Microsoft decided
it had seen enough, unceremoniously
pulling the plug on the project at the end of June.
While the phones will continue to be sold on Verizon for the few that
are interested, the message from Microsoft was clear -- it was
putting Kin down faster than you can say Old
whether the complaints are true or not, Microsoft must make some
serious changes to its phone business -- and make them now,
if it hopes to survive fast competitors like Google, Apple, and HP
quote: [Microsoft is a] dysfunctional organization where decisions were made by politics rather than logic.
quote: More than 500, certainly, but below 10,000
quote: This happens in all large corporations