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Microsoft gives up on the Kin, eyes Windows Phone 7

Doug Gross
The Kin phones are geared to a younger audience, but sales have been sluggish.
The Kin phones are geared to a younger audience, but sales have been sluggish.
  • Microsoft won't introduce its Kin smartphones in Europe
  • Company pulls plug on the teen-friendly phones amid bad sales, despite big ad campaign
  • Focus will shift to series of Windows 7 phones, due out by the holidays

(CNN) -- Less than two months after rolling out its Kin smartphones, Microsoft is giving up on the teen-friendly devices amid reportedly sluggish sales.

The decision, even as the company was hitting TV hard with ads promoting the phones, will allow Microsoft to shift resources from the Kin team to the upcoming Windows Phone 7 series.

"Microsoft has made the decision to focus on the Windows Phone 7 launch and will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned," said a written statement from a Microsoft spokesman.

Teaming Kin staffers with Phone 7 staffers will allow "incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases," the statement said.

"We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones."

Just this weekend, Verizon -- the Kin's wireless provider -- slashed prices on the two version of the phone, dropping the lower-end Kin One to $29 and the Kin Two from $99 to $49.

The move demonstrates the challenges Microsoft faces in gaining traction in the rapidly growing smartphone market. While Microsoft still dominates the PC software industry, it has watched rivals Apple and Google leap ahead in the mobile category with their popular iPhone and Android operating systems.

Announced on April 12, the Kin phones were designed for a "social generation." They feature a touchscreen, a built-in Zune music player, integration with social media sites like Twitter and a visual time line that lets users view social media updates from their friends on multiple sites.

Content created on the phones is automatically saved and available, through cloud computing, on any Web browser.

Complaints about the phone centered on the cost of its mobile contract, which rivals that of more advanced devices like the iPhone and Android.

Microsoft is not releasing sales figures for the Kin, but multiple reports have said they were anemic, possibly falling short of 10,000. The iPhone 4, by contrast, sold 1.7 million units in its first three days.

Microsoft's series of phones for the Windows 7 operating systems is expected out by this year's holiday season.

Phones running the system will be made by companies like Qualcomm, Samsung, LG, HTC, HP, Dell, Sony Ericsson Toshiba, and Garmin-Asus, Microsoft has said.


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