Verizon Wireless has started notifying subscribers who purchased the short-lived Microsoft Kin mobile phones that it will be shutting-down its Kin Studio, the online social networking platform that came bundled with the mobile phones.
Kin was a family of phones from Microsoft that were sold exclusively through Verizon. The phones, which were designed and built by Sharp, were created for heavy users of social networking and targeted at the 15 to 30 age group. Kin was launched in April of this year. A planned European launch was scrapped due to very poor U.S. sales. The shut-down is due to be final at the end of January.
Verizon subscribers who will be affected by the shut-down are being offered replacement 3G phones from Verizon's existing range. Subscribers may also wish to keep their Kin phones – short lived technology products often become collector's items in the future.
Analysts believe that efforts to promote Kin may have suffered when Microsoft began to focus on the launch of the Windows Phone 7 OS. With the Windows Phone 7 launch, the Kin program – development team and technology – were folded into the Windows Phone unit at Microsoft. Kin phones were based on Windows CE.
According to Engadget, at the time of the merger of Windows Phone 7 and Kin, there was jealousy and rivalry within Microsoft's executive ranks, and Windows Phone Senior Vice President Andy Lees managed to wrestle control of the Kin project away from J. Allard and move it under his Windows Phone division. Lees reportedly lacked enthusiasm for the Kin product.
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