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The phone was rumored to have sold around 8,000 units

Microsoft's Kin smartphones made Palm's struggling Pre look like marketing genius.  Released exclusively on Verizon about 2 months back, the pair of phones marked the culmination of Microsoft's reportedly $500M USD purchase of Danger (makers of the Sidekick).

The phones lacked features found in Android, the iPhone, or other modern smartphones and were marketed with a series of controversy-laden ads.  In the end they reportedly sold around 8,000 units.

Following Microsoft's decision to pull the plug on future Kin-related endeavors, Verizon this week decided that it had seen enough.  It is ceasing sales of the phones, pulling them from store shelves, and shipping the remaining supply (which is mostly untouched) back to Microsoft.

While it's no real skin off Verizon's back considering the carrier's well-packed stable of smart phones and plethora of smart phones, the metrics of the screw-up for Microsoft are staggering.

If you assume to $500M USD Danger purchase cost and that 8,000 units were sold, that works out to a cost to Microsoft of $62,500 per phone.  At that rate Microsoft might as well have been giving away small bars of gold with a phone built in.  And that's not even including the two years of engineering that Microsoft financed to launch the phone and the extensive advertising campaign.

As Microsoft readies Windows Phone 7, its surely a bit nervous as it watches Verizon nail Kin's coffin shut.  Its room for error in the smartphone arena is close to exhausted.




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By robinthakur on 7/20/2010 7:02:12 AM , Rating: 2
You're right, and a great way to make Danger's devs stay on board is to incorporate their valuable IP and experience into a device which is seen as a complete joke throughout the industry thanks to a lack of management and leadership from the top at Microsoft, god-awful marketing, and half-assed execution. The Kin was an interesting concept device if executed correctly, but things like the lacking facebook integration (only the news feed was really visible) and the odd retro-fitted presence of Twitter integration not to mention the other lacking things like Geotagging and strangely absent features made it seem like it was better as a concept.

As a device that made it to market, it actually mmanages to make Apple's handling of the IP4 fiasco look competant which is saying something. The most sensible thing MS could have done for their bottom line was kill it, after all they know the very real PR damage of having an embarassingly unpopular product floating around long after its sell-by date, destined only to be a drain on resources and morale(Zune, Vista, RROD) Thank god the Courier never made it out of R&D at this rate!! You KNOW that if it had come out it would be ridiculously expensive, lacking seemingly obvious features and sell practically nothing. What on earth is going on at Microsoft these days? I would like to believe that they'll get their act together for Windows Phone 7 but I won't hold my breath, Shareholders, why is Balmer still in his job? :\


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