Microsoft discontinued its Kin cell phone effort just weeks after launching a pair of Kin-branded gadgets with Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), the nation's largest wireless carrier.
"We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 and we will not ship Kin in Europe this fall as planned," Microsoft said in a press statement quoted by a number of media outlets. "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."
A Microsoft spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.
While Microsoft's Kin phones, dubbed One and Two, received a lukewarm reception on launch, the speed with which Microsoft closed the gambit could reflect sharply disappointing sales. Indeed, Business Insider recently reported a rumor that Microsoft has sold only 500 Kin phones, an astonishing number considering the nationwide advertising effort, which included a number of TV spots, pushing the gadgets.
Microsoft and Verizon unveiled Kin One and Two in April, and began selling them in May. The Kin One went for $49.99 and the higher-powered Kin Two for $99.99--and both required the purchase of a $30 monthly data plan. Just a few days ago, Verizon cut the prices of the phones in half. The phones, which feature a number of social networking functions, were criticized as clunky and bereft of computing features now standard among smartphones, such as support for third-party applications.
According to CNet, Andy Lee, the senior vice president of Microsoft's mobile communications business, announced the news to Microsoft workers. Roz Ho, Microsoft's Kin team leader, will oversee the move of Kin into Microsoft's Windows Phone team and then will transition to an as-yet-determined role at the company, according to CNet.
Microsoft's Kin phones stemmed from the company's acquisition of Danger, maker of the T-Mobile USA Sidekick. Microsoft is now gearing up to release its Windows Phone 7 platform, a redesign of its smartphone operating system that is due out this fall.
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