AAPL Stock: 118.88 ( + 1.13 )

Printed from

Microsoft using Kin death to unify mobile on Windows 8?

updated 08:05 pm EDT, Wed June 30, 2010

Kin's exit to lead to desktop OS-level mobile

Microsoft's decision to cancel the Kin may ultimately lead to a unified, desktop-level OS strategy for mobile, if a detailed leak from within the company said tonight. Windows division president Steven Sinofsky is said to be angling for control over the mobile group and would be shifting the entire company strategy to settle on a unified Windows 8 platform. The Engadget tip didn't say how close Sinofsky was to achieving his short-term goal.

Other details have also provided color as to the pre-launch conflicts that doomed Kin. The mobile group's senior vice president Andy Lees allegedly told the team for what was then called Project Pink to scrap all the work and start again based on a Windows CE platform solely for the sake of basing it on Windows. Remaking the OS for the Kin not only delayed it by 1.5 years but cost a deal with Verizon that many now believe as crucial to Kin's survival. The US carrier had been willing to offer heavily discounted plans to cater to the teen market, but the delay led Verizon to insist on charging for a full $70 smartphone plan, guaranteeing the Kin One and Kin Two would be ignored in favor of smartphones.

Windows Phone 7 isn't thought to be affected, but a Windows 8 strategy would mark a major change in direction in the mobile industry for Microsoft at a minimum. The emphasis so far has been on developing mobile-optimized software that, while limited, is often better suited to the performance, battery life and security concerns on phones; Apple is likely to beat most if not all sales records for Microsoft's Tablet PC concept with the iPad as its scaled-up UI has resonated more than Microsoft's attempts to scale down desktop Windows. A successful desktop-class OS on a mobile device would give Microsoft an edge in capabilities, although any development if cleared would likely take several years. Windows 8 by itself may not ship until 2011 or 2012.

by MacNN Staff



  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    now that they've seen how it's done, they can draw up a plan and then spend a fortune in getting something to market and countless billions of dollars to keep it there. for years to come. well, at least until someone comes along with the next new direction then ms will repeat.
    ad nauseam.

  1. loudpedal

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ha ha

    Like it's gonna help...

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    In the lifetime of Microsoft's 'Tablet' software, have they actually sold millions of devices in total?

    I would think the iPad's sales in the first 3 months probably are more than all other consumer tablet devices with Microsoft's OS on them combined.

    I bet Bill Gate's balls are smarting right about now...

  1. Herod

    Joined: Dec 1969


    screwed the pooch

    i would have a little more respect for microsoft if they just admitted once and a while they they just came up with a bad idea.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    flush $$$$$ down the toilet!

    Instead of flushing $$$$$ down the toilet, why not just use them as rebates to attract Mac users to Windows. Wasn't there a 'turn in your iPod and get a Zune'? Whatever happened to that?

  1. solefald

    Joined: Dec 1969



    failure after failure after failure, microsoft continues come up with outlandish ideas that do nothing but very badly imitate what other companies are doing. i realize they want to be a part of something big, but they remind me of that one creepy old dude at a frat party who stares at hot girls from the distance, but knows that the only way for him to have one is a rug and ether.

    are they ever going to learn or they are now rolling downhill at full speed and no means for stopping?

  1. SierraDragon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MS is Dying

    MS even under Gates has always been a dealmaker, not an innovator (except Visual Basic). There is nothing in the entity to suggest that the model has changed or is remotely capable of changing. They will sell lots of one-time Win7 version upgrades (finally) replacing XP but they have no chance in the innovation-driven mobile space. And the mobile space moves too quickly for MS to copy others' work like they have in the past.

    MS is so large that they will die slowly, but MS is dying. No one should look for any Win8 flavor to come to the rescue because the Win-centric world will never again fall patsy to the 1990s MS trap of constant expensive OS upgrades.

    Note that the predecessor to the iPad was the Newton - marketed long before any MS tablet PC.

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Too many cooks!

    There are four teams at Microsoft with their foot in the marketplace: Zune, Project Pink, WIndows CE, and Windows Desktop.

    Project Pink had its own OS and moved to Windows CE underpinnings because of the infighting. Now that Project Pink is dead, the Windows desktop team is insisting on a "Unified" strategy which will kill Windows 7 Phone before it has a chance.

    The reason Windows 7 Phone is Windows 7 Phone and not Windows 7 Mobile is to placate the desktop people who keep insisting that 1). Tablets need styluses and 2). That Windows desktop is perfectly suited for the mobile platform.

    Meanwhile, Apple is getting farther and farther ahead. Microsoft has a bad habit of competing against Apple's older product lines while Apple sprints ahead. The Zune was made to compete against the classic iPod. Meanwhile, Apple introduced the iPhone two weeks after the Zune came out, and later brought out the iPod Touch which leaped ahead of the Zune. By the time a compatible Zune came out, Apple had its App Store while the Zune was unable to download any applications.

    While Microsoft was busy futzing around with Zune based OS WIndows Phone and Windows CE and Project Pink and Windows Desktop, Apple came out with the iPad. By the time Windows 8 comes out, the iPad and iPhone will be well established products with a large ecosystem, and Microsoft products will look ancient in comparison.

    Someone at Microsoft should bang all of the heads of the various teams together. Windows Desktop is not a great interface for tablets and portable devices, and you shouldn't need a stylus. The Windows 7 Phone platform shows promise, and should be allowed to work on tablet systems.

    Gordon Bethune, the former CEO who saw Continental come back from the dead, once said his main focus was on the customer in seat 5F. Change to a new reservation system? How would that benefit the customer sitting in seat 5F? Move from Boeing planes to AirBus? How would that benefit the customer sitting in seat 5F?

    Microsoft should ask the same question. How does a "common underlying architecture" benefit their customers? Will the customers now say "Wow, look this product now has a different underlying platform that's unified across all of their platforms!"? Does the customer care? Or, does this constant power struggle and the constant delays in their product platforms have the customer move over to iPads and iPhones and make Microsoft products irrelevant.

    Interestingly, Apple started off advertising the iPhone platform as another version of Mac OS X. Then, started calling it iPhone OS, and now iOS. Even though the iPhone and Mac platforms share a lot in common, Apple has no qualms of having their platforms diversify. This is because Apple cares more about what their customers want than the technology behind it.

  1. mqualben

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What's next for Roz Ho?

    Isn't she the person who led Microsoft's Mac Business Unit when they killed Visual Basic in Office for Mac, led the decision to skip the MS Danger Sidekick data backup during a major SAN upgrade (losing all user data for several days and got people wondering at the time if cloud computing is trustworthy), as well as the Kin's group lead? wwwowww.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    i kin a liked it

    Back to the drawing board MS. Copy iPhone 4 and IOS as fast as you can.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented