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3. Verizon Needs To Feed The Data Beast
Many industry watchers believe Verizon's mandatory $30 monthly data plan doomed Kin from the start, mainly because it pushes the TCO for into a similar range as current smartphones. Why would anyone want to pay that much for a device that doesn't support third party apps and even lacks a calendar?
Verizon and Microsoft argued that the $30 was justified because Kin devices have high resolution still and video cameras and store this data in the cloud. "Once [customers] realize the value of this, they'll realize it's a great deal," Greg Sullivan, senior product manager in Microsoft's mobile communications unit, told Computerworld in May.
As it turned out, consumers didn't agree. Microsoft should have driven a harder bargain with Verizon or devoted more effort to explaining why the $30 made sense.
4. Mobile Development Delays Are Fatal
Kin One and Kin Two are believed to have sprung from Microsoft's top secret "Pink" mobile development project, which is where much of the Danger talent landed after the 2008 acquisition. But sources close to the project said Pink suffered from inexperienced management with little mobile industry experience, as well as the kind of infighting that former Microsoft vice president Dick Brass outlined in his February op-ed piece in The New York Times.
For these and other reasons, Pink endured numerous delays, and the consensus is that the project reached completion around 18 months behind schedule. In a mobile market that's hitting on all cylinders, that can doom any product development effort.
Kin devices, when they did reach the market, were obviously not feature complete. Microsoft probably would have sold more Sidekick devices if it had chosen to continue their development.
5. No Third Party Apps = No Interest
It's not enough to say you're going to support it later on. Young people want it now, and it doesn't matter what "it" is. For Microsoft to launch Kin without any connection to its mobile apps marketplace was a big mistake, especially since Kin arrived at a time when Apple's App Store was riding high.
No matter what you think about the quality of the apps for sale on the App Store, a marketplace is now a staple of any company's mobile strategy. Plus, if you're marketing a phone based on its social networking attributes, you want it to be as connected and extensible as possible.