Uncommon Wisdom

Apr 13 2010   12:05PM GMT

New Microsoft Kin phones target iPhone functionality subsets

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Microsoft may be revealing another aspect of its complex mobile strategy in a pact with Verizon to introduce some phones that target social networking. Two models of the new phone, “Kin” seem to be focused totally on things like texting, social network site navigation and data entry rather than on the broader smartphone space.

Microsoft may be following the proven strategy of “subsetting” Apple by eating away at key pieces of the iPhone opportunity space rather than competing across the board. It’s also possible that this strategy could combine with the “pink” hosted-feature approach. A set of “brightphones,” not quite “smart,” might provide low-cost connection to a valuable market segment and then be augmented by hosted features to garner additional revenue/ARPU. All of these strategies will likely become clear by the fall, when back-to-school and holiday buying ramp up and create the necessity for clear positioning.

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