In the second half of July it became clear that the partnership between Verizon and Microsoft has ended regarding the sale of the Kin series smartphones. Verizon decided to return all unsold units back to Microsoft after having already pulled out both Kin One and Two from its online sales.

The beginning of the end

This latest turnout is the logical end of what is thought as one of Microsoft’s worst attempts to get ahead of its rivals Google and Apple in the smartphone market. The company had announced in June that it would discontinue the Kin brand since it wanted to focus on a Windows 7 phone. The phone was also not going to make it to Europe at all, since the entire team of developers, previously working on Kin, was now moved to the OS division.

Causes for the failure

Although exact numbers are not known, the rumors are that the unbelievably low sales have also aided the decision to return the Microsoft stock. The number of Kins sold from both One and Two series varies somewhere between 500 and 9000, despite the huge amount of money Microsoft put in advertising it. On possible reason for this could be the pretty high price of $70 for Kin One and $100 for Kin Two – considered a little bit too much to ask for a phone, that claims to be smartphone class, but lacks many of the related features which would make it one.

Corporate speculations claim that the failure was due to jealousy since the Windows team has allegedly forced the change of Kin’s OS, thus setting them a few years back in development. This not only brought almost two years delay but also killed the chance of lower prices and the support for third party applications, which could have at least given the phone a better chance of survival. Still, an attempt was made to save the brand by rebating the prices to half their original cost, but apparently, that did not help either. Perhaps it was just Verizon’s attempt to clear off the remaining pieces.

The original plan

The Kin One and Two smartphones were originally launched in US at the beginning of May for both online and store sale. The plan included their introduction to European countries such as Spain, Germany and the UK in the fall under the distribution of Vodafone. The US Verizon versions also included slide-out keyboards with options for Facebook and MySpace if the users signed up for a data contract.

The Kin series were supposed to target the younger generation, which could listen to music or connect to friends via the social networks, including an option for a Windows live account. The phone even had an option to upload data like videos, pictures or plain text messages to an encrypted site called Kin Studio. Unfortunately, none of these features and services seemed to attract customers enough to invest in the product. This failure may have to do with the fact that both Apple and Google were coming up with much more competent smartphones.