Bob was certainly a well-known failure, but how much money did they actually lose on it? How many people were demoralized by the failure? How many partners were screwed by the failure? How many customers will think to themselves, "Don't be the first to buy a Microsoft product, they might drop it within days or weeks of launch?"
Kin could have very deep and lasting repercussions. It makes Bob look like a minor annoyance and Vista look like a success in comparison. SteveB doesn't call me up and tell me how to write code, so I won't criticize him. But I think it's fair for shareholders to ask him to detail exactly what he was doing as a manager while all this transpired. He's a manager, he shouldn't have any difficulty showing off how well he managed.
Kin could have very deep and lasting repercussions
I agree...hearing about the cancellation of KIN completely turned me off of Windows Phone 7. My last 2 phones have been Windows mobile phones, but I just jumped ship for Android with the HTC Evo. Microsoft is on shaky ground with Mobile.
Funny, I'm the same way. I've been waiting for WP7, but for some reason the Kin cancellation now has me either getting an EVO or Epic. Although I knew the Kin was a flop, something about the cancellation just flipped a bit in me that said, "skip the first gen WP7 devices".
If they turn out to be good, I'll get one in 18 months or so. But the Android trajectory is looking pretty great.