Microsoft Kin Problem and Solution sysm 6309 Summer 2013



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Microsoft Kin – Problem and Solution - SYSM 6309 - Summer 2013

August 3, 2013 Page of



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Microsoft Kin – Problem and Solution

SYSM 6309 - Summer 2013



Individual Project Paper

Submission Date: August 3, 2013



Prepared by:

Arun Perumb Krishnan

UTD Id:
Professor:

20211 54585
Dr.Lawrance Chung


Table of Contents



1Background and Overview 3

1.1Microsoft Kin Background and Overview 3

2Microsoft Kin 3

2.1Microsoft Kin Development 3

2.2Microsoft Kin – Project Investment 4

2.3Microsoft Kin – Launch 4

3Microsoft Kin – Problem and Failure 5

3.1Microsoft Kin – Problem 5

3.2Microsoft Kin – Failure 5

4Microsoft Kin – Problem Analysis 6

4.1Microsoft Kin – Market Scenario during the Kin development and launch time frame 6

4.2Microsoft Kin – Focus Test Group Opinion 6

4.3Microsoft Kin – Customer Opinions 7

5Microsoft Kin – Solution Recommendations 7

5.1Solution Recommendations – Avoid Development delays 8

5.2Solution Recommendations – Avoid Project Competency 8

5.3Solution Recommendations – Importance to Non-Functional Requirements 8

5.4Solution Recommendations – Better Pricing Strategy 9

6References 9



1Background and Overview




1.1Microsoft Kin Background and Overview

Kin was a mobile handset developed by Microsoft during 2010. The Kin project idea came when Microsoft acquired a Palo Alto, California based software company called Danger Inc during February 2008. Danger Inc was specialized in hardware design, software and services for mobile devices. One of the Danger mobile handset products Sidekick was the first cloud-based Smartphone with the App marketplace. Microsoft acquired Danger Inc for a price around $500 million.


Kin was a failure product from Microsoft. This project describes the problems Microsoft Kin faced in the market and some of the solutions which could have prevented the failure of the Microsoft Kin.

2Microsoft Kin

2.1Microsoft Kin Development

Kin project was first known as ‘Project Pink’. The main intention of Kin project was to develop a mobile handset from Microsoft which has some built-in applications to access the social networking media like Twitter, Facebook and Myspace to target at teens and social networking addicts.



http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2010/04/twoloopprint1.jpg

Picture 1: Microsoft Kin

2.2Microsoft Kin – Project Investment

Kin’s development was inside Microsoft’s Premium Mobile Experiences (PMX) division based on WinCE. The development of Kin platform took around 2 years and the total project investment was US $1 billion. The additional investment for the project is the acquisition of Danger Inc by Microsoft in February 2008 for $500 million.



2.3Microsoft Kin – Launch

Microsoft announced about their product Kin on April 10th, 2010. They launched two Kin models Kin ONE and Kin TWO and made available on Verizon Wireless stores on May 13th, 2010.


http://blog.alert-info.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/microsoft-kin-one.jpg http://ts2.mm.bing.net/th?id=h.4568875597431669&pid=1.7

Picture 2: Kin ONE and Kin TWO


3Microsoft Kin – Problem and Failure

3.1Microsoft Kin – Problem

Some of the missing features in the Microsoft Kin were the following:-



The additional missing functionalities of the Microsoft Kin were:-




  • No additional Apps can be downloaded like any other smart phone

  • No extra options or downloads possible

  • Once shot, pictures cannot be edited – only shared or stored

  • Videos recorded with camcorder have no sound, can only be deleted not edited once captured



3.2Microsoft Kin – Failure

The Microsoft Kin became a failure within two months of its actual launch date. Verizon stopped selling the Kin phones due to poor sales. Verizon returned all the unsold phones to Microsoft. Microsoft scrapped the Kin’s Europe release due to the poor sales in US market. They also stopped promoting the Kin devices and ceased production. Microsoft also transferred the Kin development team to join its Windows Phone developers.


4Microsoft Kin – Problem Analysis

4.1Microsoft Kin – Market Scenario during the Kin development and launch time frame


Below details some of the Market conditions during the time frame 2007 till the 2010 which interests the smart phone industry market:-


  • January 9th 2007 – Steve Jobs announced iPhone (First Generation)

  • June 29th 2007 – The first iPhone released

  • Apple released iPhone 1st Gen, 3G and 3GS before the Kin launch

  • MS released Kin on:- May 13th 2010

  • Apple released iPhone 4 on June 2010

  • Also beginning of 2010 Google released Nexus One phones from HTC

Kin phones were overshadowed by the iPhone and Android Phones during the time of launch in 2010.



4.2Microsoft Kin – Focus Test Group Opinion

Below are some of the observations and comments from the Focus test group’s regarding Microsoft Kin before the Kin release:-



  • Focus testers struggled with phone’s interface

  • Issues were present on basic functionality like making calls

  • Some of the opinions from the focus testers before Kin release:-

    • ““The phone seems to be really slow in responding … and that makes it confused as to what it was doing”

    • “the phone was so unresponsive, it had a hard time registering a simple phone number.”

    • “lots of room to improve I think … especially since I don’t have a touch phone right now, even so I think coming to a touch phone like this is kind of a turnoff.. I think the biggest frustration I have is whether it’s the lag, or whether it’s my actual touch [causing problems]…”

The focus test groups were not satisfied about the Microsoft product features and the product was having issues during the focus test.



4.3Microsoft Kin – Customer Opinions

Below are some of the opinions from the Kin customers after their purchase of the handset from Verizon Wireless in US market:-



  • “I wouldn't say satisfied. I have a Kin TwoM, and it's a piece of crap. Not quite as laggy as the focus test videos show, but still noticeably bad. The camera, however, is just as bad as they say.”

  • “The HD video feature is unusable because it locks up constantly for a couple seconds at a time while recording.”

  • “I'd love to upgrade to a WP handset (my Verizon upgrade period), but unfortunately, I can't pay for the data plan.”

The above comments clearly indicate that the customers were unhappy about the Kin features which were faulty and the pricing were too above for a handset which does not provide much internet features.


5Microsoft Kin – Solution Recommendations

Some of the solution recommendations which could have avoided the Microsoft Kin failure are detailed in the below subsections.


5.1Solution Recommendations – Avoid Development delays

Two years is considered a significant development delay. Fasten the release date to beat the market leaders in smart phone.


Below table shows the Apple iPhone versions and its release dates. The table shows that Apple took just approximately one year for each of their subsequent releases to launch new features to make the customer happy and attracted towards their smart phone device.


Apple iPhone versions

Release dates

iPhone – 1st generation

June 29th, 2007

iPhone – 3G

July 11th, 2008

iPhone – 3GS

June 19th, 2009

iPhone – 4

June 24th, 2010


5.2Solution Recommendations – Avoid Project Competency

Kin’s development was inside Microsoft’s Premium Mobile Experiences (PMX) which was a parallel project to Windows Mobile Platform. Rather than two different platforms have one mobile platform for a better quality product and to avoid:-



  • Wastage of time

  • Wastage of resources

  • Wastage of money

  • Conflicts between colleagues/Management



5.3Solution Recommendations – Importance to Non-Functional Requirements

Give importance to Non-functional requirements in relation to some of the functional requirements



    • Camera

    • HD Video recorder

    • Making calls

Also capture the functional and non-functional requirements to beat the existing smart phones and use Change Requests to constantly update them through the development cycle.



5.4Solution Recommendations – Better Pricing Strategy

Since the Kin uses the data network only for accessing limited social networking sites the data usage would have been limited compared to the existing smart phones. The price of the data plan should have been minimized compared to the other smart phone data plans to attract more teenagers and social networking addicts




6References





  1. www.Wikipedia.org

  2. http://www.mobiledia.com/phones/microsoft/kin-two.html

  3. http://gizmodo.com/

  4. http://images.google.com/

  5. http://rdmanagement.blogspot.com/2010/07/r-portfolio-management-case-study.html

  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone

  7. http://bcgconsulting.blogspot.com/2011/01/failure-product-marketing-analysis.html

  8. http://www.utdallas.edu/~chung/SYSM6309/syllabus.htm


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