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04.19.10

Microsoft Kin Fails, Aggravates the Public

Posted in Hardware, Marketing, Microsoft at 8:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zune Mayday

Via OpenBytes

Summary: Microsoft’s new phones fail to impress anyone, even huge proponents of Microsoft; What gives them a lot of publicity is the allegation that Microsoft promotes underage sexting

MICROSOFT is departing from Windows, which is evidently too much of a mess, at least as a mobile platform. As we pointed out before, this also means that Windows Mobile applications will no longer work. What a gamble and what a colossal mistake. Several very important developers recently quit development for Windows phones as a result of this, with big names including Skype, Mozilla, and Adobe.

“Several very important developers recently quit development for Windows phones as a result of this, with big names including Skype, Mozilla, and Adobe.”Microsoft’s mobile reality is rather embarrassing. The market share keeps declining and money goes down the drain at a very rapid pace. But today we take a side that’s not hostile towards Microsoft, in order to show that even those who are faithful to Microsoft are rather depressed about Microsoft’s endeavours in the mobile space. The media largely ignored Microsoft’s latest announcement (the “Kin” phone) and treated it as a nonevent, with some noting that Microsoft claims it to be “social” and for young people, whatever that actually means in practical terms. Nobody seems impressed, but Microsoft excuses the lack of appeal by referring to “social” and “children”. Mary Jo Foley is helping Microsoft’s PR regardless of her opinions about Kin (no critical opinion is offered or emphasised). She has become extremely obedient to Microsoft in recent years (this wasn’t the case when she was writing at Microsoft Watch).

Looking just at IDG, which has financial reasons to favour Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], here is everything that we found and gathered from this news network over the past week (it’s pretty much an exhaustive list).

First of all, even Microsoft’s biggest of boosters (Gralla [1, 2] in this case) are unimpressed. The headline “Why You Don’t Want a Microsoft Kin Phone” probably says it all.

The fake “Robert X. Cringely” from IDG has published: “Microsoft’s Next of Kin: No Cure for Smartphone Fatigue”

As I type this, Microsoft is announcing two new slider cell phones, the Kin One and Kin Two — successors to the beloved but aging-faster-than-Mickey-Rourke T-Mobile Sidekick.

These are apparently the culmination of the long-rumored, until-now-entirely-vaporous, Project Pink, code-named Turtle and Pure, sometimes also known as the Zune Phone. When your phones have more aliases than a CIA operative, that’s probably not a good sign. But I digress.

[...]

The intro text on the Kin Website: “The impulsive. The spontaneous. The wonderful.”

My translation: “The annoying. The self-absorbed. The unemployed.”

The bad news? No app store. No Flash support. The good: No sign of Windows whatsoever — these phones are based on the Zune browser interface, so they have that going for them.

JR Raphael writes:

Call me crazy, but something about Microsoft’s Kin phone just doesn’t add up.

Microsoft Kin PhoneThe Kin, unveiled by Microsoft on Monday, is billed as a mobile phone for the “social generation.” It’s meant to appeal to the younger, always-connected crowd — teens and 20-somethings who spend their days surfing social networks — and yet the Kin’s social network support is decidedly unrobust.

Still looking at IDG, here is the remainder of the headlines about the subject:

i. Microsoft Kin: What’s Cool, What’s Lame

ii. Can Microsoft’s Kin Catch the Mobile Social Networking Wave?

iii. Microsoft Kin: Phones Sport Zune, Target Social Set

One of IDG’s Microsoft boosters, Harry McCracken, wrote that third one. He always drools over whatever comes out of Microsoft and Microsoft is giving him expensive gifts to reciprocate.

So Microsoft’s phone (or phones) was basically a big “Meh!” but it did receive a lot of coverage, just not the type of coverage Microsoft wanted. The following headlines explain why:

Microsoft releases Kin advert

Microsoft Kin ad encourages you to send moob shots to girls

Consumer Reports is calling out Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) for its Kin ads because it’s “creepy” that one ad apparently shows some hip dudester sending pictures of his chest to some equally hip lady.

Microsoft in ‘sexting’ row over Kin advert

Microsoft Accused of Advocating Sexting

Microsoft Kin upshirt ad called ‘creepy’

I’m sure there are few people left in the world who have not, at one time or another, sent a picture of their most favorable body parts to someone they loved. Or at least coveted. Or at least knew. I am, therefore, moved to photograph the frothing in my brain caused by the controversy surrounding a video for Microsoft’s new Kin phones aimed at young social-networking hipsters.

We ought to remind everyone that there is a lot of sex and violence in Microsoft ads, which even had some of the company’s ads outright banned. We gave several examples in this Web site over the recent years.

Watch how Microsoft responds proactively (no bans needed):

Microsoft deleting ‘sexting’ from ad

Microsoft kills upshirt scene in Kin ad

Microsoft Takes Back Its Naughty Ad For The Kin

Microsoft semi-apologizes for highly offensive man-boob in Kin ad

Microsoft backs on on KIN sexting accusations, apologizes for pec-gate

Microsoft Pulls KIN Ad With Sexting In It

Microsoft apologizes, edits Kin video after ‘sexting’ complaints

One might say that “Kin” is abbreviated “Kinder” and mistakenly advocates paedophilia or uses it to sell.

Watch how Microsoft’s booster Preston Gralla comes up with “damage control” in IDG and so does another Microsoft booster, Todd Bishop. Basically, Bishop is a non-stop promotion of Microsoft and even Kin — promotion which helps him run his Microsoft blog. We insist on explaining how Microsoft controls the press and we gave new examples just hours ago.

Here comes the interesting part. Microsoft tries to control what journalists are writing about Kin, without much success (because the product is far too bad):

As Microsoft explained to me, the Kin 1 is for feeding and the Kin 2 is for feasting. Both are, well, somewhat goofy looking.

Why does Microsoft need to explain to journalists personally? Are they Microsoft’s PR agents? Also, watch how Microsoft is using a former department (Razorfish) for the Kin blitz. “Razorfish reveals role as Digital Agency of Record for New KIN Brand,” says the headline of this press release. Didn’t Microsoft let Razorfish go? Razorfish is still serving Microsoft on the face of it.

Over at the Seattle Times we also learn about a “word-of-mouth marketing campaign” which Microsoft had going for Windows Vista:

Marr, formerly of Microsoft, where he led the word-of-mouth marketing campaign for the launch of Windows Vista, may keep bottles of Bulleit Bourbon and Vox Vodka tucked inside a decorative world globe in his office, but the regimented and chauvinistic world of “Mad Men,” in which ad firms made kings of corporations, has largely disappeared. Now you have the likes of Microsoft coming to scrappy firms like Wexley to help them gain street cred with a generation that’s openly hostile to the come-ons of big companies and brands.

The reality behind Vista 7 was also twisted by a “word-of-mouth marketing campaign”. Nothing ever changes. Microsoft is all about advertising and misdirection. Luckily, the company is limiting the audience it advertises to because of Silver Lie.

Going back to Kin, Paul Rubens is skeptical and the News Observer calls these “Zune phones”, which should not be taken as a compliment given the big failure which Zune has turned out to be. Here is an article whose headline asks: “Microsoft Zune HD 64 dead in the water?”

Microsoft released a 64GB version of their Zune HD, dropping the prices of the 16GB and 32GB models in the process. But the announcement came without much fanfare from the tech community. Is the Zune HD already dead in the water? And if so, does it deserve it?

Based on this report, Windows Phone 7 will arrive late and also incomplete. This is a recipe for failure.

“In the future, Microsoft wants Windows to run everything, from PCs to phones to cars to appliances. This is a terrifying prospect. If it happens, I’d be far more afraid that machinery everywhere would grind to a halt, planes would fall out of the sky, and civilization would crumble as a result of crummy embedded Windows design than any Y2K problem.”

Paul Somerson, PC Computing

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