Microsoft’s Kin failure sank morale at the company’s Redmond campus according to an employee who emailed us after the news broke.”Embarrassment all over campus from the rank and file about the Kin announcement,” says this Microsoftie.
The problem is that, “no one thought it was a great product to launch anyway to begin with,” and “Credibility in Mobile space is further eroded, as if that were even possible!”
Indeed, it opened up Microsoft for a vicious attack from the New York Times (of all places) which wrote, “the Kin debacle is a reflection of Microsoft’s struggle to deliver what the younger generation of technology-obsessed consumers wants. From hand-held products to business software, Microsoft seems behind the times.” (Our emphasis added.)
Our Microsoftie told us:
“We had a huge launch party on campus and I bet that party cost more than the amount of revenues we took in on the product. As an employee, I am embarrassed. As a shareholder, I am pissed. It’s one thing to incubate products and bring them to a proof-of-concept to see what works, but it’s something else to launch. I suspect we launched because we felt like we HAD to so we could save face because we were trying to build buzz, but overall – HUGE fail.”
Other Microsoft employees, and former Microsoft employees, are taking this opportunity to pile on Microsoft over at Mini-Microsoft, a sort-of message board for Microsoft’s employee’s gripes. Here’s some of the most pertinent tid bits:
- “All I can say as a former Windows Mobile employee who is now working for a competitor in the phone space is that this is good news for the rest of us…Personally I quit because of the frustrating management and autocratic decision style of Terry Myerson and Andrew Lees. The only exec in the team myself and other folks respcted was Tom Gibbons who is now sidelined. Lees and Myerson don’t know consumer products or phones. Gibbons at least knows consumer product development. We often talk about how Andrew Lees still has a job but Microsoft’s loss is a gain for the rest of us.”
- And from another person…”And now Kin is killed *after* it has shipped in June 2010. You can bet Andy was involved in the development of Kin, the partnership agreements with the OEM, Verizon and most importantly the “ship it” approvals all along the way. And Microsoft discovers its a bad idea after it blows up in the broad market. Absolutely no thanks to any pro-active decision making on Andy’s part.
- Now there is spin that Andy killed kin to put all the wood behind Windows Phone 7. Er, the guy was in charge for two years of Kin development. He could have made this decision far earlier. Similarly Windows Phone 7 has two years of development under his watch. 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.
- A former Danger employee calls Microsoft a “dysfunctional organisation where decisions were made by politics rather than logic.”
- Another person commented, “I for one can’t believe that no one has been axed over the Kin debacle. Billions of dollars were wasted, not to mention all of the smart people over there who spent 3 years with no return on the investment. If Roz and/or Andy doesn’t go, what does that say about our supposed value of ‘accountability?’ I for one am tired of accountability meaning ‘we move them over here and give them a smaller project and hope they resign'”
- Another comment, “I wonder why in the wake of the Kin debacle everyone is blaming Lees, Ho and Myerson while Matt Bencke is being let off the hook. He was the one who approved the flawed business model that depended on the operators charging MORE for a Pink plan than an unlimited plan. He was the one who approved the business projections based on this fictitious assumption. He is the one who used those projections to get the Danger deal through. He is the one who sold deal to Verizon and Vodafone that Microsoft would be unable to deliver. He was the one who pushed for important features to be cut so a team could be put to work on the “international expansion” that never arrived. To top incompetence with lack of integrity, he is the kind of person who would ask someone on his team to pay for a $1000+ Ferragamo coat (after Bencke left his on a plane) with the corporate card and expense it. Microsoft should have never rehired him after he left the first time. There is a reason that neither his former manager nor his former skip wanted him back.”
We feel like we’re only getting one side of the story here. And Microsoft PR isn’t really helping us. We’d like to hear from more Microsoft employees, particularly if you feel good about the company and think it’s doing well and all this complaining is bunk. Please email us at [email protected]
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