Microsoft’s had a variety of weird and wonderful consumer devices over the years that haven’t gone so well. Jon Friedman, now chief designer of Office 365, has been at the center of Microsoft’s notorious product failures, including the SPOT watches from 2004, ultra mobile PCs, the KIN phone, and the unreleased Courier device. At Microsoft’s Build developer conference this week, Friedman reflected on his personal career at the software giant and why some of these products weren’t successful.
The Courier always seemed like a fascinating device to me, even though I wouldn’t really know what to do with it.
My regret was the KIN. I still want one and actually purchased it, but they had detuned the OS to basic feature phone instead of the hybrid originally launched. Dropping Exchange support was too much so I returned the device. Huge error by Microsoft IMO. People still want a superior feature phone and KIN in original capability was it. They didn’t want a better iPhone and Windows Phone was not really that anyway. I think Microsoft gets nervous when they are not copying, other than XBox, which was somewhat a Dreamcast successor, so that might have helped then stick that project through. And the world is better for it.
but MS seems to have had more ‘footgun’ moments than most when it comes to selling hardware.
How much did they end up writing off with the Nokia purchase?
It remains to be seen if the latest attempt with the Surface actually makes them more than a token profit.
I can remember the ‘Zune’ being touted as the best thing since sliced bread. Then they only sold it in the USA. Hardly inspires you with confidence does it.