Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Windows Phone 7 the next iPhone “killer”?

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Microsoft pulled a gutsy move today.  To celebrate the release of Windows Phone 7 the firm held a funeral march for the iPhone and Blackberry. It is bad enough when the media calls something an iPhone killer.  For Microsoft to do it is somewhat amusing.  Sure it was a great publicity stunt, but nobody is really expecting Windows Phone 7 to pull Microsoft out of its rut.

This “funeral” procession was the first time Microsoft really hit the radar since it killed its own Kin. With Citrix and other apps available on other operating systems, it is a good time to be on a non-Microsoft smartphone. Whether you prefer iPhone or Android, or even Blackberry, it is likely you won’t miss Windows at all. Can Microsoft “kill” the iPhone? That’s probably easier to answer than Microsoft would like. Whether or not the iPhone needs to be killed is a more important question.

The reality is that nobody needs to “kill” the iPhone. It has provided a strong incentive to innovate on the other systems. Innovation and competition is good. Apple will continue to sell iPhones. HTC, Sony Ericsson, and Motorola will continue selling Android phones. They may even produce a Windows phone here and there. It is hard for any firm to kill another device when it is so far removed from the spotlight. So, can Microsoft do it? Doubtful. Time will ultimately tell, though. Do you think Windows Phone 7 can kill the iPhone? Let me know in the comments.

Microsoft Discontinues the Kin

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Microsoft released the Kins One and Two on May 6 on Verizon. A few weeks later there was a price drop. Today, June 30, Microsoft pulled the plug.

“We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 and we will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned,” the company said. “Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones.”

The commercials always looked overdone. It was a little too much hype for such a small, irrelevant device. I knew it wouldn’t do well, and the price drop confirmed it. I didn’t expect it to die this quickly though. I’m sure all the @Kin fans on Twitter will be surprised to learn the news. A quick look at the page shows Europeans really excited about the coming launch. Bummer for them.

Microsoft is rolling the Kin project into Windows Phone 7, according to CNET. Kin will still be available to Verizon customers, but it is officially done. I would imagine there will be another price drop in the near future. Something along the lines of Free.

There will be lots of speculation as to what happened. Some reports are saying it was dead before it launched. Others said it was a personnel shift that killed it. Either way, the Kin is gone. Microsoft tried to point out that it is still a market leader in almost all of its products, but it has been a very long time since I have heard anything about a Microsoft phone. In theory Windows Phone 7 is supposed to change all this. Now that the project just gained a lot of former Kin team members, perhaps the phone will be usable. I don’t know of anyone who is anxiously awaiting it though, and I think that is part of what caused the Kin’s early demise. I am sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about this in the near future. Microsoft will try to save face, opponents will blast Microsoft, but the fact remains that this is a failed Microsoft project. Since competition is good for consumers, let’s hope the Windows Phone 7 gives iPhone and Android some sort of push-back. We’ll have to wait and see.

Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Microsoft held its E3 press conference on Monday. Among the hot topics is a new slimmer Xbox 360 which finally includes wireless networking, as well as a newly named Kinect for Xbox 360 (formerly Project Natal). There were some standard platform games displayed, but the focus of course was on the move. Microsoft thinks this is a big year for Xbox. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the release of the Xbox console. Here is the video, courtesy of Gamespot.

Here are my initial thoughts from the video. First, I think the little girl playing with the tiger on the Kinectimals game was the best actor on the stage. None of the Microsoft Studios games looked that interesting to me, with one exception. Microsoft and Lucas Arts are working on a new Star Wars game, which has a lot of potential. In fact, it has so much potential that it is the only game shown that makes me want to buy a Kinect.

The best part of the Kinect, however, is not the video games. Kinect video looks like it has a lot more potential. Once you get past the cheesy dialog from the demo, there was a pretty impressive demonstration. It looked like the conversation started instantly. I don’t know if she had it on pause, or if it was an actual real-time connection. I am sure the details will come out soon enough. The ability to share games is interesting, and it reminds me of the early demos of Google Wave, where you can video chat and watch a movie together. Again, I think the video features are the reason to get the Kinect, at least for now.

Also of note is the deal with ESPN. Xbox Live customers will get access to thousands of shows through an exclusive deal with Microsoft. Considering how Microsoft has the best console-based Netflix app, I am looking forward to seeing what the ESPN experience looks like.

All in all, it looks like Microsoft had a decent showing. It wasn’t the most exciting thing around, but there were definitely some things worth looking at. I’ll be watching for new game announcements and talking about the interesting titles as information comes out. Until then, enjoy the E3 coverage and stay tuned for more.