The Kin as a product was also a victim of muted interest in the Microsoft services platform. Windows Live, Bing and Zune are major Microsoft service elements which however have not been able to entice the American audiences. This actually underlines an ongoing problem for Microsoft in its efforts to use its services to drive adoption of its mobile platforms and vice versa. This would be a problem that would continually haunt WinMo and as per early indications, the Windows Phone 7 may also be limited to its “island” of Microsoft approved services.
However, what looks like the biggest factor in Kin’s failure was possibly Verizon’s service pricing. Bothe devices came with two year contracts with a minimum monthly voice tariff of $40 and data tariff of $30. This meant that despite Microsoft’s intention to position Kin below Windows 7 and other high end devices, the Kin One and Two were competing with devices such as iPhone in terms of monthly service cost. Interestingly Kin’s most innovative and differentiated aspect: The Kin Studio which was a digital diary and content aggregation point from which users could populate other services. The drawback of this service was that it needed to constantly synch data with cloud based servers and thus Verizon wireless had very limited flexibility when pricing its data tariff.
So while Microsoft correctly identified an opportunity for an inherent social networking experience, it failed to recognize that a cloud based push infrastructure would lead to exorbitant service prices that took the product out of the reach of its target audience.
The termination of Kin could also have been a fall out of regime change within Microsoft. The technology team backing Kin departed a few weeks after its launch and there apparently were no backers. Also Microsoft is possibly trying not to de-focus from its Windows Phone 7 given its strategic criticality.
The decision to close down Kin while hasty and premature could still yield some results for Microsoft in terms of borrowing Kin’s associated infrastructure and merging Kin’s elements into Windows 7 from the start. With the failure of Kin, the pressure builds on Microsoft to ensure the 100% successful delivery of Windows 7.