[sc:mobile-category ]At first glance there are many similarities between MS’s ill fated Kin phones and HP’s WebOS phones and tablets, but when you look a little deeper, the differences far outweigh the similarities.
MS purchased Danger Inc. several years ago and didn’t seem to be doing much with the company until they announced a new generation of phones, the Kin One and Two. These phones were a radical change from previous Danger products and seemed to be targeted at a different demographic as well.
They were launched with much fan fare and MS was very enthusiastic about them, then just a few months after launch, they were terminated after poor sales. Microsoft took a billion plus dollar hit in the debacle.
HP Purchased Palm just over a year ago and immediately announced a slew of new products and plans for WebOS. Then nothing. Finally the new hardware was announced, including the Veer, Pre 3 and TouchPad.
The launch for the new hardware had a massive ad campaign behind it and HP pushed hard in to the tablet market. Just over a month after the launch, HP killed the entire WebOS lineup, taking a multi-billion dollar hit in the process.
Seems kind of the same, so what’s the difference?
At the summary level, everything looks the same, new tech, high hopes, billions lost. But where as MS had a clear strategy with killing the Kin, HP has none.
MS killed the Kin, not because of the poor sales (though I’m sure that made it easier), but because internally MS had two phone platforms, Kin and the upcoming Windows Phone. The battle royal that went on inside MS as these two platforms competed to survive is the stuff of legends, and in the end the Kin was killed, gutted and consumed by the Windows Phone team. But at the end of the day, MS was still in the phone business.
When MS killed the Kin, they made it VERY clear it was to focus on Windows Phone. It was in the announcements, the executives recited the party line time and again. When it was all over, no one wondered what was going to become of the Kin, Windows Phone or MS.
HP on the other hand kill WebOS with no plan B. They simply exited the market, tail between their legs. The announcement created far more questions then it answered and days later everyone is still scratching their heads.
So what would MS’s announcement have been like if it was the same scope as HPs?
For MS to have made make the same kind of announcement HP did, it would have had to included:
- The Kin is dead.
- Windows Phone too, the consumer space is just too competitive.
- Oh, and we’re dumping all our mice, keyboards, webcams, etc., anyone what to buy that business?
- But we’re going to keep Xbox because we make a boat load of cash from that.
Not really the same at all when you think about it.