Next Of Kin

14 04 2010

A long, long time ago, two companies in the computer business made important strategic decisions. one chose to focus strictly on the software side of the business, while the other chose to focus on both hardware and software.

The former saw its products adopted by over 90% of the computing public, and installed on machines sold by scores of manufacturers. The latter opted to be a perfectly integrated company, involved in everything from manufacture to retail, and confident in its ability to show people what they really want and need.

But Microsoft (the former) has seen its products slowly but surely experience market share erosion. And Apple (the latter) has come to dominate media attention as well as anything and everything to do with music sales and players.

So I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I saw that Microsoft plans to introduce the Kin line of smart phones. As if they didn’t learn their lesson with Zune, the ho-hum imitation iPod. And never mind that Microsoft recently announced a new mobile operating system for use with other phones. No, they want to follow the Apple model by producing yet another proprietary product, yet minus any real experience or success selling a Microsoft-branded product.

Just like with Zune, so much of the barn has burned down there is little left to salvage.

Fifteen years ago the world stood still when Windows 95 was released. Microsoft even co-opted a Rolling Stones song to start us up. Ever since then, fewer and fewer people have cared. You just don’t see any hype these days for any new Microsoft product, regardless of what it is. But every time Steve Jobs opens his mouth, Apple stock climbs a few dollars higher.

And in case you haven’t already noticed, the very name of this new phone is so laughable that the product development team should be fired. Kin? Are you kidding? This is not West Virginia. If they think this name is going to elicit warm fuzzies and make me want to dial all of my family members on it, they clearly don’t have a dial tone of their own.

Smart phones are rapidly becoming a mature sub-category in cell phones. It is not a matter of if, but rather when, everyone will have one. And there will continue to be opportunities for improvements in these handy little devices. But for Microsoft to jump in so late with a me-too that has no wow factor is just further evidence of why this company continues to decline. No, it’s not going to go out of business any time soon. But its total market dominance is over. The Kin is no better than Google belatedly launching Buzz a few weeks ago, long after the social networking genre had gone into orbit on its own.

Days and dollars that come up late and short are just not good uses of resources. Surely Bill Gates is wondering why he ever left the office.

Dr “We’re Sorry, Your Call Did Not Go Through” Gerlich

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2 responses

22 04 2010
Price H.

As an alum of WT, and as an employee of the Microsoft Entertainment & Devices Devision….ouch. No free products for you or DLB. Haha.

22 04 2010
gnumedialab

I know, I know…

But whose phone was in the news all this week because one apparently “leaked” out? Apple has mastered the PR game, even when they screw up (if they did). They just cannot seem to lose.

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