updated 03:00 pm EDT, Wed July 7, 2010
Microsoft workers say Kin leaders may kill WP7 too
More Microsoft employees have weighed in on the death of the Kin project and are now suggesting that the problems may spill over into Windows Phone 7. In addition to criticizing Windows Phone lead Andy Lees for downplaying Kin to protect his preferred OS, anonymous comments from within the company also lay blame at the feet of Matt Bencke, who was purportedly responsible for letting Verizon charge smartphone-level rates for a limited device. He may also have pressured the Kin team to drop features to make the international launch with no guarantees it would ever arrive.
One also accused Lees of indecisiveness. With roughly two years to cancel the Kin before it shipped, he allegedly wasn't aggressive enough to kill the project outright and instead repeatedly greenlit development where it could have been cut short. That indecision combined with existing staff could hurt the much more important Windows Phone 7 launch, the unnamed employee said.
"Windows Phone 7 has two years of development under his watch," he said. "Based on his past performance, 99% chance this is also going to be a total catastrophe. It further doesn't help that much of the Windows Phone 7 leadership team was kicked out of Windows when they screwed up Vista."
The company's executive-heavy structure and historical tendency to reassign rather than fire executives has also been attacked. One of the former Danger workers brought on to work on Kin said the company was led by "politics rather than logic," while another Microsoft worker complained that the company wouldn't let go of Andy Lees or Kin leader Roz Ho, even after more than one troubled project. Simultaneously, knowledgeable leaders like Tom Gibbons may have been "sidelined" despite deeper knowledge.
Windows Phone 7 is still expected to perform far better through a much more smartphone-quality OS, but its success will depend heavily on broad support. HTC, LG, Samsung and others have all pledged phones but may have relatively small lineups relative to their Android projects. Some of the lessons learned from Kin may be rolled into the more advanced software, such as the Kin Studio's media backup and sharing services. [via SAI]