Shelf potato alert – Microsoft Kin mobile phone
This article appears courtesy of The Shelf Potato Blog, by Doug Garnett. The article was originally published on July 1, 2010, by Ben Smith.
“From half baked spud to dud in 2 months is no way to go through a life-cycle son.”
If you saw the commercials or talked to a rep in store, you probably couldn’t figure out what problems Kin solved or unmet needs it satisfied. The fact that it was pulled from the market so soon by a company with so deep of pockets leaves only a few conclusions and bigger questions.
How bad were sales – did anybody buy it?
Did Microsoft launch something it knew was bad but needed the flop to validate something? Was it a really expensive live focus group?
I always have a problem with companies willingness to make price moves once it is too late. Just 2 days ago the phones prices were effectively cut in half. Why not launch at those price points or heck it’s a mobile phone – why not free. At least they might have gained momentum out of the gate and gotten enough in peoples hands to see if it has legs.
What can we learn from Kin?
Don’t launch it if it is flawed.
Know your level of commitment going in. What are you willing to do if your product doesn’t get off to a good start. A powerhouse like MSFT can pull a stunt like this and still get the buyers to return their call. The rest of us don’t have that luxury.
Communicate what you do that is unique or you do better than anybody else – understand and share whatever your value is. I still have no idea what Kin does that you can’t do with an iPhone, droid, or whatever that motoblur feature is. They had an 8 figure budget to tell their story with and still failed.
Fight where you can win. They weren’t going to out apple apple on tv ads – and other players such as htc are running ads that are pretty clear with their value prop. How did anybody at msft or their agency convince themselves that their story would work. Beyond iPhone I am willing to bet the majority of phone choices occur in-aisle. If MSFT truly believed in the product they should have paid to staff demos 40 hours / week in the verizon stores / best buy.
Above all – be realistic.