Microsoft released two new phones a few weeks ago, the KIN One and KIN Two. The KIN release is likely to go down as one of the worst in the company’s history. Rumors, true or false, state that only a few hundred phones are sold to date.
The company is positioning these phones to the younger audience, and focuses feature set around social networking.
That might sound like a good idea, but the market moved from feature phones to platform phones years ago.
The fact that it’s Microsoft that misses this point is indicative of its current leadership, in my opinion.
In early April I wrote about the KIN release:
I seriously doubt the long term relevancy in the business strategy. I don’t see that any Apple competitor has the luxury of diverging its focus into multiple arenas.
The more I think about this, the more I see evidence of the company’s divergence from its platform first-philosophy. Microsoft was always a platform company, and its products always had clear threads tying them together. There were solid architectural thoughts overarching product strategies. I doubt an off platform device like the KIN would see the light of day under the leadership that made Microsoft’s successes.
I could see a potential rationale behind trying an off platform path if the product would be extremely well designed, complete, and in all aspects awesome. But to release devices in 2010 that is both off platform and having its quality/usability questioned is a mystery to me.
For the sake of giving Apple- and the Android-teams a run for the money, I hope the KIN experiment is halted and that all energy and focus is put into making Windows Phone 7 and beyond substantially competitive.