In the wake of Microsoft’s decision to kill the Kin phones, Joshua Topolsky at Engadget is reporting that Microsoft Windows President Steve Sinofsky is making a move to take over Microsoft’s mobile division.
Sinfosky wants to make Windows one unified platform from the desktop to mobile. While this sounds like a good idea on paper, it’s part of the reason Microsoft has been held in check in mobile.
In conversations with former employees, we’ve heard stories that the mobile division can’t build its own phone operating system from scratch. It has to check with the Office group and the Windows group at every step along the way to make sure the Microsoft look and feel is preserved.
Engadget reports that this is what killed the Kin.The phone originally had its own OS. Then Microsoft’s mobile boss Andy Lees told the Kin team to rewrite the OS based on Windows Compact Edition. It took 18 months to rewrite the software to fit these new specs.
The Kin was originally the spawn of Microsoft’s Danger acquisition, but most of the Danger team left the company. Verizon was going to provide cheaper data plans for Kin phones initially, but after all the delays it decided it had had enough, and didn’t offer lower rates, which ultimately screwed the phone.
All of this sounds really bad for Microsoft’s mobile future. Andy Lees was in charge of the Kin project, and he’s in charge of Windows Phone 7. If he couldn’t successful guide the Kin to market, can he handle Windows Phone 7?
One more thing. When Robbie Bach left Microsoft, Andy Lees was not named president of mobile. If Microsoft had faith in Andy, it would make sense to promote him. Instead he kept the same position, seemingly leaving the door open for Sinofsky to step in and take over mobile.