updated 03:55 pm EDT, Wed July 7, 2010
Rumored Kin figure may be real after all
Claims that Microsoft may have sold just 500 Kin phones before the end may have been accurate. A tip from a "well-placed little birdie" to historically reliable John Gruber said Wednesday that Microsoft only sold 503 of the phones in the six weeks before the phase-out began. Previous talk had claimed it was higher, but still under 10,000.
The tally would make the Kin one of Microsoft's most costliest failures ever relative to the amount of money spent and time on market. Microsoft is believed to have devoted tens of millions of dollars to marketing the Kin One and Kin Two but, if true, would have had virtually no success. Microsoft projects that have struggled in the past, such as Bob and Windows ME, have often had several months or more and have usually had at least lukewarm sales.
Much of the fault for the poor sales has been assigned to Microsoft's willingness to let Verizon charge smartphone rates to use a phone with severe limitations compared to much of Verizon's roster.
Publicly, Microsoft has never been willing to confirm its Kin sales numbers, but they were low enough that Verizon still has enough stock to keep selling units at their clearout prices.