Microsoft Kin Death Raises Windows Phone 7 Questions

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-07-01 Print this article Print

=Windows Phone 7: Hail Mary Pass?} 

Widely expected to launch on a variety of carriers before the end of 2010, Windows Phone 7 features a user interface markedly different from the rival Apple iPhone and Google Android platforms, which emphasize pages of standalone applications. In place of that model, Windows Phone 7 condenses Web content and applications into a set of subject-specific "Hubs," such as "Games" or "Office."

Microsoft has been feverishly pushing at both business-application and games developers to create content for the new platform. One developer reportedly told the Website in June that Microsoft had approached his colleagues about making their iPhone games compatible with Windows Phone 7, with the company allegedly willing to offer "substantial" amounts of money to make that happen. In addition, Microsoft pushed the platform as business-friendly at its recent TechEd conference.

"More than 90 [percent] of our target customers for Windows Phone use their smartphone for business purposes," Paul Bryan, a senior director of Windows Phone at Microsoft, wrote June 7 on the Windows Phone Blog, timed to the first day of TechEd, "and 61 percent use their phones equally or more for business than personal use. This is why we designed Windows Phone 7 to combine a smart new user interface with familiar tools such as PowerPoint, OneNote, Excel and SharePoint into a single integrated experience via the Office hub."

With Kin dead, Microsoft's attention now focuses solely on Windows Phone 7. As Enderle mentioned in his note to eWEEK, the Kin's sudden demise possibly re-emphasizes Microsoft's renewed do-or-die focus on the mobile space. "This could be an early indicator of a major change at Microsoft, or it could be just an exception," he wrote. "We'll hope it is an early indicator."

Or as Jack Gold wrote in a July 1 e-mail to eWEEK: "Microsoft was splitting its resources between two mobile platforms, a hard thing to do for any company." Although those disparate groups may now have been linked in common cause, "Windows Phone 7 has to be a big success if they want to stay in the mobile game. It's not clear it will be, but it is probably slipping out even further, hence the pulling in of all resources available."

Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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