The Kin: Poor Sales? Seems to me this was all Microsoft.

It seems that after doing some initial work on these phones based around Danger’s proprietary Sidekick OS, Andy Lees — the SVP of Microsoft’s mobile division — instructed everyone to go back to the drawing board and rebuild the OS based on Windows CE. It appears the company didn’t want a project that wasn’t directly connected to its Windows kernel. This move allegedly set the release of the devices back 18 months, during which time Redmond’s carrier partner [Verizon] became increasingly frustrated with the delays. Apparently when it came time to actually bring the Kins to market, Big Red had soured on the deal altogether and was no longer planning to offer the bargain-basement pricing deals it first had tendered. The rest, as they say, is history — though we don’t think even great prices could have accounted for what was fundamentally a flawed product.

No company with a serious strategy and belief in a product kills it just seven weeks after launch, no matter how poorly it initially sells. A smart company might hold the line a little longer, spin a press release, or maybe tweak their strategy.

But this was Microsoft:

  • It’s just like Microsoft to decide the Kin must be Windows-based, and ignore the IP they’d bought in Danger.
  • It’s just like Microsoft to not understand an 18-month delay is poison in the mobile market. This isn’t Windows or Office, where customers feel there’s nowhere else to go.
  • It’s just like Microsoft for various teams to pull in different directions; even now there’s only talk of unifying their mobile efforts.
  • It’s just like Microsoft to write off tens of millions of dollars spent on the project so quickly because, well, they figure they can afford it.

This product should never have been released. It’s clear many in power were ready to kill it—at a moment’s notice and with little reason—without even the appearance of trying to make a go of it. Yet for all those who could agree to kill it so soon after launch, they hadn’t the guts (or sense, take your pick) to kill it beforehand. 

On top of that, Microsoft angered Verizon, the US carrier with no love for Apple since they can’t sell the iPhone. A decent Windows Phone 7 on Verizon might have made a good team against the iPhone/AT&T, but instead they’re barely speaking, with Microsoft saying they’re releasing WP7 phones on GSM first. 

The Microsoft Kin should have been another Palm Foleo, an idea that got too far internally, but cooler heads prevailed and avoided the embarrassment of a launch. Sure, Palm was kicked around a little for announcing a product they didn’t deliver, but it’s nothing compared to the critique Microsoft deserves for wasting years of time, resources, and money for a seven-week stint to prove they’re still clueless in the mobile sector.

Deat AT&T: I’m one of your happy customers, no sense in trying to piss me off

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I just received the above email from AT&T regarding my iPhone 4.

This is odd. You see, my order was taken at an AT&T Store the first day pre-orders were allowed. I received confirmation the next day, and a tracking number a couple of days after that. The device was delivered right on schedule June 24th, and getting it activated (a “swap” with another phone on our family plan) was easy as well.

In short, AT&T rocked for me through the whole process. Sending me an email now saying I’m not going to receive the phone I’ve already had for six days is not going to bring me down. Confuse me, yes, but bring me down, no.

AT&T To Allow Phone Number Swapping For iPhone 4 Without A Store Visit?

However, if the number you used to order your device is NOT the number you intend to use with your iPhone 4, follow these simple steps when your device arrives and an ATT representative will help you activate.

I bought my iPhone 4 using an eligible number on our family plan with the intent of swapping it to my number after activation. The eligible member of the family would end up with my 3GS; I’d get the 4.

AT&T has no problem with this. In fact, it’s written in the purchase receipt and confirmation email that if you plan to swap phones you just have to bring both of them into a store after the new one is activated.

However, today we got a text message from AT&T linking to the above page. It seems AT&T has set it up so that phone swapping can be done over the phone, there’s no need for a store visit. Cool!

Will this work? I never know if AT&T’s ideas, even the good ones, will get implemented right. Obviously, I’ll follow the procedure and see what happens. Worst case scenario is I go to the store and wait in line like I’d already planned to. Doing it over the phone would sure be nice, though.

AT&T Backtracking: Tune In On June 24 For “As The iPhone Turns”

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Above is an excerpt from the confirmation email I received from AT&T. So much for ordering today to get delivery on June 24.

I’ve read that phones ordered from AT&T after 1:30pm Pacific Time would not make June 24. My receipt says 12:12pm, so I’m crossing my fingers for Day 1.

Will Tom get his iPhone on opening day? Will he have to wait until Friday or… (*loud organ chord*) Monday? Will John run off with Marsha, and if they have Android phones will anyone care? Be sure to tune in next week for the exciting conclusion.

iPhone 4 Pre-Ordered. Finally. (But I Cheated.)

I’m now the proud owner of a virtual 32GB black iPhone 4. After all the issues I had with trying to upgrade via Apple and AT&T’s web sites, I bit the bullet and went to a local AT&T store. 

There was a line, and I slid in at #12. The manager was pulling his hair out, but said the line was moving and thanked me for my patience. He had a clipboard and was taking names to ensure it was first-come, first-served. It took about 40 minutes for my turn to come up (at least three people were called who weren’t there), and another 20 or so to complete the deal (the system died in the middle of the transaction the first time). All in all it was a pleasant enough experience.

I upgraded an eligible member of our family (on an original iPhone) plan who’s not me, and then I’ll swap our phones (I have a 3GS) when it comes in. AT&T’s fine with this, and it gets us lowest price possible on the phone ($299 for 32GB). Also bought AppleCare. 

The phone should be delivered to my house on June 24. Woot!

It really sucks that the online upgrade systems fail so badly today. On the other hand, it was nice to see AT&T staff busting their butts and getting it done for those who came in.

iPhone 4 Pre-Order Hell, Part 2 [u]

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In my earlier article it was all about the servers being overloaded, so try again later. In the last half-hour or so the AT&T error message has changed to something much worse (above).

So it seems AT&T has all but shut off iPhone 4 pre-orders at this time. No, I don’t think they’re really upgrading the online account system; I think it’s dead.

For those thinking this may give Apple a better shot at updating, I’d remind you that Apple must check with AT&T for eligibility of the update (it’s why you have to enter the number, zip and SSN), and if AT&T can’t access their own account system, what chance does Apple have?

At this point I’m thinking AT&T has an issue they’re scrambling to fix, and as long as they’re spitting out the error above I don’t think there’s going to be a whole lot of upgrading going on.

[UPDATE:] The message has changed to that below. Now it’s a “system upgrade”, but in either case they’re saying the system is unavailable. 

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