Microsoft Kills KIN

The KIN is dead.

It was a cell phone marketed to kids so they could hook up with strangers, with a data plan priced like a normal adult smartphone. Not even a 50% pricedrop on the two devices to $29 and $49 could spur sluggish sales. So, Microsoft terminated the product after only a few weeks on the shelves, even though it was years and millions of dollars in the making.

Hope they break the news to Rosa gently.

Microsoft Kills Kin [Gizmodo]
Microsoft pulls the plug on Kin [Cnet]


Edit Your Comment

  1. jefeloco says:

    I hated the idea of the sidekick, but MS should have stuck with something that worked. Even Rob Zombie loved his sidekick…

    • MFfan310 says:

      Why Microsoft didn’t keel using the Sidekick: The Sidekick was based entirely on Java. Java is an Oracle (previously Sun) product. And Oracle competes with Microsoft and is a big Linux/open-source fan.

      Hence why Microsoft likes “eating its own dogfood” (using its own technology). The Kin uses both a Windows Phone 7 Series OS derivative and an IE 7/8-based browser on Sharp-manufactured hardware (the only partner left from the Sidekick). But unlike Windows Phone 7 (which has yet to launch in ‘real” form), there’s no app capability, probably to protect Windows Phone sales. Which is precisely why the Kin bombed in the marketplace… even simple phones and featurephones let you run apps.

      Oh, and I work in a cell phone store. We have this huge cardboard Kin ad. I guess it’s a collector’s item now, unless Verizon requires that we throw it away.

      • jefeloco says:

        My point was that although the sidekick hardware was expensive, youth-types could wrap their heads around it easier. Kiddies could afford it more easily, the fact that you could even just go data, texting only for 25 a month; it was a focused device that didn’t try to be a smart phone; it had the word “kick” in it.

        The KIN is a smart-ish phone that tries to be a networking device but with extremely limited user input. It is akin (see what I did there, eh?) to giving people this huge motorsports park to look at but only allowing them to idle around the paddock; not fun.

        You should ebay the KIN ad but I don’t think it will sell as well as the edward cullen cutouts at att stores.

  2. cancercat says:

    Aww. But how will I tell my friends there’s going to be a ?uestlove concert at Central Park?! Man. Its not like my phone has voice chat or anything

    • NumberSix says:

      Ha! I wonder how many more phones a company could sell if they started calling the phone part “Voice Chat”.

      • Alvis says:

        Texts are well and good, but who wouldn’t pay $0.50 a pop to leave and send awesome new Audio Messages? Hear your friends in their own voices!

  3. leastcmplicated says:

    I just saw a commercial for it last night…

    • leastcmplicated says:

      and when I logged into facebook a few seconds ago there was an ad on the right that said “introducing the new Kin from Microsoft” lol

    • qbubbles says:

      I was just at the movies and saw a commercial for this.

    • Boylerules says:

      I’ve been hearing ads on the radio nonstop including yesterday. Annoying radio contests. “Go to our website to check out the Kin and register to win a $200 gift certificate to ticketmaster!” Wooooooooo

    • madanthony says:

      well, the cnet article makes it sound like Verizon is going to keep selling them, at least until they run out. MS isn’t going to continue making or updating it, but it’s not like they are recalling them and burning all the existing unsold ones or anything.

  4. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    The Virtual Boy of Smartphones…

    • jpjj225 says:

      I wouldn’t give it that much credit. I know a lot of people that loved virtual boy. I can’t think of one person that liked the kin.

    • jibo says:

      I would say it’s the NGage of smart phones, except there are too many direct comparisons to be had there.

  5. midwestkel says:

    Wow. Well even though I saw the commercials all the time there was nothing that made the phone special unless I wanted to get kidnapped and killed so I can see why it flopped. I also saw on Giz they may have only sold 500. Maybe if it had Twlight stickers all over it and they used kids and not adults with weird friends to market it they would’ve sold out.

    • JennQPublic says:

      I really thought this would do well with hard-core social networking folks. I would never get one, but it seemed like it would be cool if you’re into that sort of thing.

  6. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    At first I was thinking, “No! I’m not dead!” but then I realized it says Kin, not Kim.

  7. ZeGoggles says:

    Kin made it to the shelves. Courier died on paper.

    Yeah.. Microsoft has this all figured out.

    • Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

      Wow, excellent point. I don’t know who the hell made the decision to kill the Courier, but the concept was awesome, it would have sold millions.

      Classic example of a corporation being so big it can’t even execute on good ideas anymore. I hope someone takes the Courier concept and runs with it.

      • tiger ali says:

        Nah the Courier was doomed from the start. Microsoft doesn’t know how to make an OS for tablets; they insist on shoe horning desktop Windows on to one. Plus add to any number of hardware hiccups (lack of multitouch, battery life, etc.) that could have gone wrong (and which we wouldn’t know until the product launched) I can’t see many companies getting it right.

        • SpinnyD says:

          I can think of one…….

          • nbs2 says:

            Nintendo? I guess a DS XXXXXL might have worked. Perhaps at that point ther would be enough space under the screens to make them full size.

            Is there anybody else with experience developing for a two screen system?

  8. RavenWarrior says:

    Good riddance to the hockey puck of smartphones.

  9. HungryGal says:

    So what happens to the 500 people who bought one?

  10. Paladin_11 says:

    It’s not dead. It’s pining for the fjords.

    Ok, it was never truly alive. So let’s compromise and say that it’s undead.

    I swear, this sort of thing is kind of par for the course for Microsoft of late. Or so it seems.

  11. backinpgh says:

    Their marketing plan was pretty bad…I’ve only seen one or two ads fo the thing. The whole online central location for all your stuff is a great idea though, I hope that lives on through other Windows Phone 7 devices.

    • Paladin_11 says:

      I guess that makes Windows Phone 7 the next of Kin…

      Probably just as successful too.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      online central location for all your stuff… um, wait, something… eggs… one basket…
      yeah, i kind of like my online stuff split up so when one thing crashes, i’m not out in the cold

  12. sonneillon says:

    That is silly marketing. No cell phone company is going to contract with a minor. So you have to make it so that parents want their kids to have it, and from every parent I currently know they buy a new bitching Smartphone and give their kids their old Razors, or samsung POS, but in all cases they get an unlimited plan and put their kids on it. I don’t know of any company that is stupid enough to sign up a kid. That’s a way to get out of ETF.

    “Here you can have your phone back I got a better deal from Verizon. Sorry I broke it, give me back all the money I paid you. I am rescinding my contract.”


    • Mike says:

      I know consumer reports kept saying that this phone was marketed at kids, but the ads I saw seemed to focus on 20-something hipsters. I never saw anything that made it specifically a phone for minors.

    • perfectly_cromulent says:

      um, they weren’t *trying* to sign up kids for contracts, and they legally can’t unless they’re 18. it was simply marketed towards young folk who want to always be connected to their social networking sites.

  13. Mike says:

    Yeah, I even said on May 18th “No matter what demographic they are going for, this phone will still be irrelevant.”

    I wish this wasn’t so easy to predict, but this phone was DOA.

  14. Cicadymn says:

    So does that mean I don’t have to see that horrible




    ads anymore? Because I freaking hate those.

    • Mike says:

      Yeah that old girlfriend ad was a fail. Who wants their product associated with a pain in the ass ex?

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      Yes! I’ll be so glad not to see those ads!

    • Rocket says:

      I remember a while back Consumer Reports made a video saying the the Kin ads where the girl is meeting her random Facebook friends as a bad idea. These ads were terrible.

  15. MrsLopsided says:

    website is still up

  16. mandy_Reeves says:

    what about Xbox 360’s Kinect controller thingy? I guess they may change the name due to embarrasment

  17. brianisthegreatest says:

    I absolutely loved my Sidekick before I had my iPhone. When Microsoft bought Danger, I was ecstatic. I thought surely, it was the makings of the Zune phone. Unfortunately, it bore the KIN. Terrible form factor, terrible software. It took the simple features of what made the Sidekick so great and exploited them in every way possible with the idea of some purely social phone. It was nothing like I anticipated. R.I.P. KIN

  18. Kishi says:

    Wow, that’s quick.

  19. Buckus says:

    Mommy…Mommy…I want one. Oh, wait, I don’t.

  20. aaron8301 says:

    I heard the commercial for it about 10 times on KISW (99.9 Seattle) today while I was at work. I find it amusing MS is PAYING to advertise a product they’re no longer selling.

    • Billy says:

      You don’t think that the advertising schedule was made weeks ago and their agency simply didn’t have time to yank the spots between yesterday and today?

  21. Emperor Norton I says:

    I also just saw an ad for it on TV.
    Had just one thought about it: It had the ugliest logo I’ve seen in a long time.
    I can’t figure out how anything that ugly got approved.
    It couldn’t have helped it!

  22. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Those things were ridiculous. I looked at them at the store once…couldn’t figure out for the life of me why anyone, even a FB-addicted teenybopper, would want one of those over darn near anything else.

  23. Cyniconvention says:

    Why do I feel like it will get more use as a puck than a social butterfly phone?

  24. socritic says:

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Seriously, here are thousands of smart people working for a smart company, and no one thought this combo was a disaster? I swear it really looks like they’re thinking with the rear end.

    Actually. i’m scared to think how chairs would look if that was true.

  25. suburbancowboy says:

    At least the marketing people had good taste in music. That Edward Sharpe song was the bees knees.
    No diggity.

    • Mike says:

      I hope that the affiliation with the Kin doesn’t hurt Sharpe and the Zeros. I saw lot of people hating on them when the Kin commercial came out. Maybe it was just Microsoft hate coming through. I bet it the song were on an iPod commercial people would be more hesitant to hate on the sing.

      They also have a song I have seen in Ford Fiesta commercials. They are a band worth checking out for sure.

  26. JonBoy470 says:

    Entry level smart phones (the Blackberry Curve comes to mind) offer more functionality for a similar up-front, as well as date plan cost. The Kin lacked the panache and “gotta have it” factor of a lust-worthy phone, such as the iPhone, Droid, or Evo 4G. And the Kin architecture was such that all your data, such as contacts, photos, music, etc. resided “in the cloud” making your handset completely useless if it didn’t have service. In a world where every phone in the universe has at least a quasi-decent Facebook app, the fact that Kin had a “really cool” Facebook app wasn’t enough to sell it.

  27. Brent says:

    If only they’d named it Kith.

  28. eday says:

    I didn’t realize anyone actually bought those…

  29. BannedInBrittan says:

    I have never seen anyone with one. Never had a desire to get one. Oh well it was full of fail.

  30. mjconsumer says:

    Next up: Microsoft drops Kinect to 50% price in desperation.

  31. Freethought says:

    I almost feel sorry for the few people who have signed a 2-year Vz contract at $70+/month and now have this defunct, abandoned POS on their hands.

    Apple sells 1.7 million iPhone 4s without running a single TV ad before it goes on sale.

    Microsoft blows untold millions launching this turd and trying to make it hip with shaky video footage and demo tours. They really have lost it.

  32. Levi says:

    After watching Steve Ballmer at the allthingsd conference, I am starting to feel really bad for them. Seems like a bunch of geeks are trying to make something cool, but have absolutely no clue what every day people like.

  33. graytotoro says:

    What a shame. As someone in that demographic, what really killed it was the $29.99/month dataplan Verizon tried to shove down my throat. I ended up buying a Casio Exilim precisely because it didn’t require a $29.99 data plan.

  34. tinmanx says:

    I heard they sold 50 phones.

  35. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i’m glad you explained what it was because i wouldn’t have known otherwise. which may be part of why it’s dead if the marketing sucked that badly…..

  36. Gregg Araki Rocks My World says:

    They killed the Sidekick for this? The advertising was a wishy-washy mix of hipster nothingness that didn’t tell you anything concrete about the phone. They never made the distinction between it and a smartphone, and considering it was priced the same as a smartphone, I can’t imagine why anyone would buy one.

  37. coren says:

    Hahaha and they were just doing a contest with a local radio station to give away 200 bucks to ticketmaster (which covers fees for one ticket, granted) within the last couple days. Guess their marketing department’s the last to know

  38. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    When I read (or was it heard on Buzz Out Loud?) that Microsoft/Verizon sold the grand total of 500 of these Kin phones since launch, I was guessing the writing was on the wall. But for them to throw in the towel this quickly? Wow, sucks to be Ballmer right now, doesn’t it? Meanwhile, over in the Democratic People’s Republic of Cupertino, Chairman Jobs gloats even more eloquently watching his arch rival fail and his pile of money grow bigger while cursing even more so at Foxcomm for not churning iPhone 4s quickly enough.

  39. perfectly_cromulent says:

    yeah, saw that coming.

  40. biggeek says:

    Most of Danger’s original employees (and their talent) jumped ship a year after Microsoft acquired them.

    Time to take the rest of the Kins, put them in a burlap sack and drown them like unwanted kittens.

  41. TuxedoCartman says:

    I feel this overwhelming urge to spoof their advertisement now. Where we set up a girl with a real phone, and she embarks on a cross-country quest to meet and talk with the 500 people who were dumb enough to buy a Kin.

  42. LBD "Nytetrayn" says:

    …but Ect is okay, right?

  43. parrotuya says:

    Save the children, kill the Kin!

    Fail, baby, Fail!

  44. Boylerules says:

    Is anyone surprised the Kin flopped? Its not exactly a bargain and it doesn’t seem to have the functionality people want these days. In my experience (outside business customers) there are two types of cell phone consumers: Those that want a phone that makes calls and those that want a fancy wiz bang computer/phone, ala iPhone and Android.

  45. anime_runs_my_life says:

    I’m not really surprised. Seeing as everyone can get onto Facebook, Twitter and Myspace (who the heck uses MySpace these days??) on their phones, it seems sort of pointless having a phone that does all that anyway. Besides, isn’t the KIN just a cheap knockoff of the Palm Pre?

  46. Nick says:

    When is Microsoft going to take the “be more like General Motors” note down?

  47. MaytagRepairman says:

    When it was first announced it left me scratching my head a bit. The Kin One looked like my wife’s Motorola Karma and I couldn’t figure out the incentive to get it over the Karma.

  48. odarkshineo says:

    I think if Microsoft merged with MTV…decent products would arise…for both parties involved…

  49. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    There’s an excellent article on Ars Technica ( that goes into how Microsoft practiced their classic Extend/Embrace/Extinguish scheme on Danger, the originators of the software that ran the Sidekick. Seems someone didn’t like the idea of a successful product that was NOT Windows Phone, so the top brass of the Windows Phone division first bent Danger into coding in Windows CE instead of just re-purposing Java (the Not Invented Here mindset), and then, when clashes on development style and function came up, just starving the project of coders and staff, thereby ensuring the KINs demise.

    Curiously enough, Verizon comes out the good guy in this. They originally wanted to price the equipment low enough to appeal to the same demographic as the Sidekick, and wanted it to succeed. Typical infighting, egos, and NIH syndrome doomed what reviewers said was a fairly decent device.