Microsoft bins Kin phone – red faces all round

Not least at Interpublic’s agencytwofifteen whose ‘faux hipster’ campaign for Microsoft’s Kin ‘social phone’ takes part of the blame for what must be one of the most embarrassing product launches in history.

Kin, Microsoft’s first phone, was only launched on May 13 but already it’s being discontinued after selling just 500 or so despite agencytwofifteen’s heavyweight social media campaign featuring fictional Brooklynite Rosa Salazar.

But it’s not all the agency’s fault. Kin, although cheap to buy, was lumbered with $30 a month Verizon network charges, smartphone rates even though it isn’t a smartphone. And what’s the point of a phone these days without apps?

Microsoft says it will continue to support Kin users (the sensible thing would be to give them their money back) and will now put all its efforts into the forthcoming Windows Phone 7.

But it’s yet another case of Microsoft being completely unable to escape from its utter dependence on Windows despite spending billions trying to diversify the company.

And possibly a reminder to agency groups not to start trendy new offerings with silly names.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.