Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 11:00 pm PT (02:00 am ET)
Microsoft kills KIN, ending Danger team's Pink ProjectAfter just 48 days on the market, Microsoft has terminated its KIN phones aimed at the youth market due to a lack of interest from consumers.
KIN was the end result of Microsoft's acquisition of Danger, a Java-based smartphone platform that pioneered messaging-oriented phones targeted at younger people.
After buying Danger, Microsoft insisted on shifting the product a Windows CE kernel rather than Danger's already functional Java-based system. While working on the shift, Microsoft allowed its existing subscribers' data to exist without proper backups, resulting in an inevitable, massive cloud services data loss when its servers failed.
In order to make the new Pink devices profitable, Microsoft skimped on local storage and forced users to store all their data on the cloud (even photos taken with its camera). To keep service cheap, Microsoft limited email message updates to once every 15 minutes.
It then launched the once cheap, youth-oriented platform (previously running on T-Mobile with cut rate plans aimed at that demographic) on the Verizon Wireless network, which tried to charge users $70 per month for voice and data service, despite the device lacking any support for basic smartphone services such as calendar sync, instant messages, or even any email accounts other than Microsoft's own.
Microsoft then tried to sell users another $15 per month a Zune Pass music subscription, hoping to salvage its Zune business by tying it to smartphones. Unsurprisingly, after two years of development, KIN was pulled off the market in just 48 days after only selling a reported 500 units.
The next of KIN
The company wrote in an official statement, "We have made the decision to focus on our Windows Phone 7 launch and we will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones"
Much of the Danger/Pink team that worked on KIN has already left Microsoft following a rash of bad publicity about its cloud failure and several high profile leaks that seemed designed to derail the flawed project out of spite and unbridled frustration with the project's management.
The move to kill KIN follows Microsoft's announcement earlier this year that it would not be releasing its Courier concept as a real product.
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