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Kin was an epic fail after only two months on the market  (Source: Microsoft)
Bonus was half what it could have been

There have been many epic failures in the tech world over the years. One of the most recent failures came from Microsoft in the form of the Kin mobile phones. Consumers stayed away from the Kin in droves and Microsoft quickly pulled the plug.

“You've got to be bold, you've got to look forward and you've got to stay focused,” noted Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a recent interview. “Kin was neither -- with 20-20 hindsight -- bold enough relative to where the market's going, and it just defocused activity from Windows Phone."

Ballmer may have piloted Microsoft to its best year ever, but the missteps by the company cost Ballmer. Ballmer reportedly made his yearly bonus, but the bonus was half what it could have been.

Ballmer received a bonus equal to his entire yearly salary amounting to $670,000. That is certainly a massive bonus by most accounts. However, the proxy filing by Microsoft cited the reasons for Ballmer not getting his full bonus were "unsuccessful launch of the Kin phone, loss of market share in the company's mobile phone business, and the need for the company to pursue innovations to take advantage of new form factors."

Ballmer could have received no bonus at all, so not all was lost. The total pay that Ballmer took home for fiscal 2010 totaled $1.34 million. 
Reuters reports that Ballmer has 408 million shares of Microsoft for 4.7% of the company estimated to be worth about $10 billion.

Forbes lists Ballmer as the 16th richest person in America.

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RE: What were they thinking?
By mcnabney on 10/1/2010 10:54:15 AM , Rating: 3
The Kin was a feature phone that was foolishly designed with a massive data backup backend which required a smartphone data plan. Requiring the smartphone data plan MADE IT a smartphone. It was just a smartphone that couldn't do any of the cool things a smartphone can do. That is why it failed.

RE: What were they thinking?
By theapparition on 10/1/2010 11:03:01 AM , Rating: 4
Couldn't agree more. This could have been a hit with tweens, if only MS convinced Verizon to market it as a feature phone with no data plan. Parents would have bought this easily for thier children (I know I would have). As it was, forcing the extra data plan costs, it was like paying the same monthly payment for a Ferrari and getting a Jetta instead.
If they priced it like a Jetta, then it would have sold much better. This wasn't a failure of product, just a complete failure of management.

RE: What were they thinking?
By cjohnson2136 on 10/1/2010 12:07:31 PM , Rating: 2
i would think a failure in both managment and marketing

RE: What were they thinking?
By mcnabney on 10/1/2010 1:03:28 PM , Rating: 2
The cloud backup feature, the crux of the Kin, would require GBs of data transfer from Verizon. That is why it had to go on a smartphone plan instead of a cheap feature phone data plan. The marketing people should have spotted this requirement far in advance and asked the software engineers for an option. Maybe they could have shifted the cloud access function off of Verizon and do it only on WiFi. That would have allowed it to squeeze into a $10 feature phone data plan instead of a $30 smartphone plan.

This is actually a good example of how Microsoft is screwed up. It only knows how to compete well when it has a forced monopoly. Nobody had to get the Kin and use it. Microsoft plowed ahead with their plans without considering how the market would react. They just can't think outside of the box anymore.

By StevoLincolnite on 10/1/2010 10:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
It only knows how to compete well when it has a forced monopoly.

Not at all, Microsoft competes fairly good in several markets despite not being a monopoly in them.

They are incredibly profitable in the home console market (The Xbox 360).

The Zune despite relatively poor sales is an excellent machine.

And I expect good things to come from the Windows Phone 7 as well.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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