The Real Kin Culprit: Internal Microsoft Bickering

Theories abound as to the forces behind Kin's speedy demise. And yes, ultimately the plug got pulled because it wasn't selling well. But a theory over at ZDNet holds that spats between Microsoft's internal fiefdoms doomed Kin from the start.

At first, Kin was slated to be a Windows Mobile 7 phone. Except Windows Mobile 7 was scrapped in favor of Windows Phone 7, which—obviously—wasn't ready in time for the Kin launch. Which led, according to an anonymous commenter on the Mini Microsoft blog, to a bit of a power struggle:

In May 2009, [Windows Phone engineering head Terry] Myerson, decided to kill [Kin] because it was competing with his own baby, WP7. Since WP7 was not ready (still today is by far ready!) the exec told him KIN would continue. As retaliation, he killed the support of his team to KIN project. Guess what? KIN team had to take over a lot of base code postponing all the value added apps+services. Now you get why there is lack of apps on KIN. Who will win in medium/long term? Mr Myerson obviously, that's why I decide to leave.

So, a house divided left Kin shivering alone in the wilderness? Not so simple, according to another commenter:

The previous poster conveniently neglects the fact that Kin's original plans were unrealistic - they were going to release a WP7 based device before WP7 was complete. It ignores the fact that the core WP7 team needed to focus on shipping a WP7 phone and that supporting a different additional hardware platform runs counter to that...

Had KIN management had any accountability, they would have built on top of the WP7 platform instead of grabbing several hundred people to do a one-off and then whining about the lack of support for an off platform device...

Of course, the fact that for the 1st two years the Kin plan was NOT to provide a competing application platform seems to have gone unnoticed in your little post.

The beauty of Kin is indeed the online services, which should translate well to WP7 when the time comes. Everything else is a flaming turd. This is one of those cases where MCB should have gotten all of its wood behind one arrow. Instead, management spent millions on Danger and defocused the core teams on sideshow oddities such as Kin….

Heated! Also occurring at around this time: Entertainment and Devices head Robbie Bach's retirement from Microsoft, which either added to or resulted from the turmoil.

So: if Microsoft had gotten its various departments—or hell, even just its Mobile Communications Business—in line, would Kin One and Kin Two still be alive and well? That's unknowable. But Project Pink, as originally conceived, might've stood a fighting chance. [ZDNet]