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'Kin hell

Ah, Microsoft. Being the world's largest second largest tech company is naturally going to make some mistakes. There was the doomed kid's computer, Microsoft Bob; there was the Windows Vista fiasco; there was the saga of Outlook Express becoming Windows Live Mail becoming Windows Mail becoming Windows Live Mail again, and Hotmail becoming Live Mail and then becoming Hotmail again.

But this is a whopper even by their standards. A mere six weeks ago, Microsoft loudly launched a new mobile, called Kin. Unlike its Windows Mobile phones, but like their Zune music player, this was Microsoft-branded hardware with specially-designed software. The phones were designed for social networking, with Facebook, Twitter and other services built in, and the smaller of the two - the Kin One - had a funky round design. It was all the product of years of development.

Now, though, the Kin is dead. Afer reports that they had sold just 500 handsets, Microsoft is killing the platform off. The European launch has been cancelled, and the team who developed it are being merged with the team perfecting Microsoft's next version of Windows Mobile, now called Windows Phone 7 Series (logically enough).

So if you'd set your heart on a round, Facebook-obsessed mobile, you'd better hit up eBay quick...

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