Kin's death may signal mobile morbidity at Microsoft
Analysts note Windows Mobile 7 will arrive alongside major BlackBerry update, continued strong sales of iPhone and Android devices
Computerworld - As postmortems of the untimely death of Microsoft's Kin mobile phones continue to be written, some observers have started wondering aloud whether Microsoft has any future at all in the mobile technology business.
The software giant has announced that Windows Phone 7, or WP7, will start appearing on mobile devices in the fall, but observers question whether it can be successful at a time when Research In Motion is planning a major update for BlackBerry, and Apple's iPhone 4 and a raft of Android devices have had time to reach ever-larger audiences.
"Microsoft is in a tough spot with mobile," said Matt Rosoff, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft. "They've let Apple get a three-year lead with iPhone, and there's BlackBerry with the same approach for control of hardware, software and applications. At the other end of the spectrum you have Android on many devices and carriers."
Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates, believes that Microsoft's decision last week to basically kill the Kin will be viewed by enterprise buyers of traditional Windows Mobile devices as further evidence that Microsoft's efforts to gain traction in the mobile device business are in trouble.
"It's looking bleak for Microsoft in the mobile OS space," said Gold. "The longer they delay getting [WP7] to market, the more bleak it looks. Whatever they release has to be rock-solid out of the gate or people won't give them a second chance."
The Kin One and Kin Two devices, based on technology gained from Microsoft's $500 million acquisition of Danger Inc. in 2008, were targeted at teenagers and young adults. But even though Kin buyers were not enterprise workers, IT managers interested in Windows Phone 7 devices will look closely at how Microsoft handled -- or mishandled -- the Kin effort, Gold said.
"Enterprises will look at this Kin decision and ask, 'If Microsoft can't get Kin right, why would I think they will get WP7 right?' " Gold said.
The most celebrated technology feature of the Kin was Studio, which allowed the storing of pictures and other multimedia in the cloud. It's unlikely that the initial version of WP7, whose release to manufacturers is imminent for expected availability by the fall buying season, will include Studio, Rosoff said.
However, both Gold and Rosoff said Microsoft should incorporate Studio in any future WP7 release.
Gold suggested that WP7 "may not make it to market this year," noting that the demise of Kin put the WP7 effort even further behind schedule.
- HTC One (M8) grabs some Apple, Samsung converts
- BlackBerry pushes BBM Protected for end-to-end encrypted messaging
- Can Microsoft's Windows Phone OS surge in market share?
- HTC One M8 called a good looker and genuine rival to the Galaxy S5
- Smartphone innovation is slowing, so what's next?
- Studies show Sprint and T-Mobile need to expand U.S. coverage
- Gear Fit: Samsung strikes again with its 'build one of any device' plan
- Nokia Lumia Icon on sale Feb. 20 exclusively at Verizon
- Samsung hints at new UI for upcoming Galaxy S5
- How 'Lenovorola' changes the mobile world
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Keeping UP with Mobile Trendsetters Global survey tracks achievements and challenges of mobile initiatives along with best practices for success.
- Assessing ROI for Mobile Acceleration Clients This EMA® paper examines the business case for deploying mobile WAN optimization client software and builds a ROI model based on the experiences...
- The Apple-ization of the Enterprise: Understanding IT's New World Read this paper for how to tackle Apple-ization (and the related consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device/BYOD).
- A Practical Introduction to Enterprise Mobility Management Read the white paper to better understand the basic concepts within mobility management and to learn how you can apply EMM technology to...
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!