Gilles Vandenoostende

Hi, I'm Gilles Vandenoostende - designer, illustrator and digital busybody with a love of language, based in Ghent, Belgium.

Why the Kin crashed and burned

On monday I wrote:

Instead of the Courier, they gave us Silverlight, the Kin and Bing.

Speaking of the Kin, Wired published a rather damning article featuring some leaked internal user-testing videos taken during the final stages of the Kin’s development:

These internal Microsoft videos, provided to Wired by a person who worked on the project, show focus groups testing the ill-fated Kin. According to our source, these are pre-production models that changed very little from the shipping product, although “performance improved some prior to shipping.” Watch them, and you can readily see why the project tanked: Kin phones just weren’t usable. Or, as our source described them, they were a “pile of shit.”

Add to that Nielsen’s damning usability review of Windows 8 and you really have to start asking yourself a couple of questions: such as what’s the point of doing user-testing if you’re just going to ignore whatever they say and release broken products anyway? Is it just incompetence, or ill-will towards their customers?

Clearly some people inside Microsoft know what they’re doing (the fact that they’re even user testing at all is a testament to this), but clearly something is preventing those people from having any real influence in the final decision making process.

I realize I’ve been ragging on Microsoft a lot lately, but it’s done more out of bafflement than out of irrational hatred. I myself was a long-time Microsoft user (hell, I grew up with DOS games) before I switched in 2008 out of sheer desperation for a modern OS that wasn’t a complete piece of crap. I just don’t understand how a company that had such a head-start in life could be so careless in throwing it all away in the space of a decade.

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