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June 30, 2010

That was fast – Microsoft kills KIN phone after two months

Posted by David Hunter at 7:09 PM ET.

Microsoft’s KIN phone didn’t last long – it was announced in April and killed today in favor of the mainline Windows Phone program:

Amid anemic sales, Microsoft has decided to halt work on its Kin phone less than two months after the product hit the market.

The social media-oriented phone will not make its planned European debut and Microsoft is shifting the entire Kin team to work on Windows Phone 7, the Microsoft smartphone operating system due out later this year. Andy Lees, who heads up the company’s cell phone efforts announced the move to Microsoft workers earlier on Wednesday, according to a source close to the company.

A Microsoft spokesman later confirmed the news.

With Microsoft’s decision, it is now unclear whether there will ever be software updates to the phone, including one originally planned for this summer. Over the weekend, Verizon cut the price on the two Kin models by as much as 50 percent.

Microsoft won’t say how much it spent on the Kin launch, but it has been backed by significant TV, Web, and print and radio advertising campaigns.

Neither Verizon nor Microsoft would say how many devices were sold, but a source told CNET that the number of Kins sold thus far is more than 1,000 but south of 10,000–significantly below expectations.

"We don’t share sales data or marketing strategies but the device remains an important part of our portfolio," a Verizon representative said in a statement.

Roz Ho, the Microsoft executive who lead the unit that developed the Kin will oversee the transition of the team and then move to an as-yet-determined role at the company, according to a source.

Every company makes missteps, but this one is destined to be a classic right up there with the Edsel.



Filed under Kin, Microsoft, Microsoft Hardware, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7

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June 7, 2010

Microsoft Ships Expression Studio 4 without Windows Phone 7 support

Posted by David Hunter at 12:25 PM ET.

Microsoft today released Expression Studio 4, the latest version of their Web development tooling brought up to date with support for Silverlight 4, .Net Framework 4 and Visual Studio 2010 and the expected variety of feature enhancements. However, what is missing is the promised support for Windows Phone 7 development:

Microsoft is providing a timeline for when it will add Windows Phone 7 support to Expression Studio 4. Here’s a statement from a spokesperson:

“We will ship a service pack for Expression Studio 4 within the next few weeks that will include Windows Phone 7 support. Developers can now get a beta of the design tools targeted at development for Windows Phone 7, which include a free version of Expression Blend as part of the Windows Phone 7 SDK. The final version of the Windows Phone 7 SDK will be made available to developers well before the general availability of Windows Phone 7 devices in market, to ensure adequate time for development.”

And as a matter of fact, wannabe Windows Phone 7 developers should not even install the released version of Expression Studio 4. Not the best start for a new and seemingly critical release to regain Microsoft’s lost smartphone momentum.

Microsoft also took the opportunity to condense the four different packages available for Expression Studio 3 into only three for Expression Studio 4:

Q: What products are included in the Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Ultimate?

A: Expression Studio 4 Ultimate is comprised of 4 products, Expression Web 4, Microsoft Expression Blend® 4 + SketchFlow, Expression Encoder 4 Pro and Expression Design 4. Expression Blend 4 includes SketchFlow in Expression Studio 4 Ultimate product only.

Q: What products are included in the Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Premium?

A: Expression Studio 4 Premium is comprised of 4 products, Expression Web 4, Microsoft Expression Blend 4, Expression Encoder 4 and Expression Design 4. Expression Studio 4 Premium is not available for retail purchase.

Q: What products are included in the Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Web Professional?

A: Expression Studio 4 Web Professional is comprised of 3 products, Expression Web 4, Expression Encoder 4 and Expression Design 4.

Along the way however, they restricted the highly regarded SketchFlow design tool to only the high dollar Ultimate subscription. Previous users of Expression Blend 3 plus SketchFlow are understandably cranky, particularly as the change came without warning.



Filed under Expression Blend, Expression Design, Expression Encoder, Expression Studio, Expression Web, Microsoft, Tools, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7

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