Microsoft Kills the Kin

Just over two months after launching it, and days after reducing the price, Microsoft has decided to kill the Kin phone.

Microsoft began offering the phone in mid-April on Verizon's network. The two models of the Kin were aimed at young people, with prominent social-networking ties.

But reviewers were critical of the phones from the beginning, noting that they were often difficult to use and lacked key features.

Earlier this week, Verizon dropped the price of the low-end Kin from US$49 to $29 and the high-end version from $99 to $49. A price drop so close to launch is typically an indication that the phones aren't selling well.

Microsoft has apparently decided to pin its future mobile efforts on Windows Phone 7, the revamp to its ailing Windows Mobile operating system, that is due out on phones later this year.

"We have made the decision to focus on the Windows Phone 7 launch and will not ship Kin in Europe this fall as planned," Microsoft said in a statement. "Additionally, we are integrating our Kin team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from Kin into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current Kin phones."

Cnet and Gizmodo first reported the news.

The Kin phones have their roots in software from Danger, the company that made the Sidekick phones and was acquired by Microsoft. Microsoft positioned the Kin phones as more consumer-centric devices, compared to Windows Phone 7, which will hit the market later this year.

Microsoft may be revamping its struggling mobile business. It recently announced that Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices division, would leave the company later this year, after 22 years at Microsoft. While Bach oversaw the successful Xbox business, the company's mobile efforts have been widely criticized. Windows Mobile has been steadily losing market share to more popular competitors like Apple's iPhone.

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