Following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed and troubled projects from around the world.

Microsoft – USA
Project type : Mobile phone (Kin)
Date : Jun 2010 Cost :Unconfirmed reports of $1B USD

Synopsis :
Microsoft’s “Kin” phones (Kin one and Kin two) are withdrawn from the market after just two months.  The phones were designed for the younger market and those who are heavy users of social networking sites.  Despite the the price being cut in half, lacklustre sales are reported.  Cost of the project is undisclosed, but is likely to have been significant (InformationWeek report indicates a figure in the region of $1B)

Contributing factors as reported in the press:
Cause of the failure are speculative, but clearly tough competition from Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s Blackberry and Android based phones already on the market made a new entry more difficult.  Some sources also cite a lack of marketing as many target users had never heard of the phone at the time of cancellation (FYI – I did my own mini-survey of the target market and no-one had heard of the Kin).  The lack of marketing may be reflective of a lack of senior management support for the project at its release (reference engadget article).  Reports also indicate the phone lacked some basic functions that users required (such as a calendar or the ability to run games). High cost of the data and texting plans may also have been a factor.

Reference links :

  1. Microsoft pulls the plug on Kin
  2. MS Kin (Wikipedia page)
  3. Does It Matter How Many Kins Microsoft Sold?
  4. Life and death of Microsoft Kin: the inside story