Passenger Wins Microsoft

Los Angeles-based Passenger, which develops private, online communities for brands to help them gain insight into their customers, said today that Microsoft Corp. has tapped the firm for Project KIN, a private online community focused on Generation Y and their use of mobile communications. Passenger said the community, which includes more than 2,000 members, is being used to contribute insight into Microsoft's KIN brand. Microsoft had launched its KIN mobile phone earlier this year. Passenger said that Microsoft has been using the company's service since the beginning of 2008, to gain insight into members of Generation Y, the target of Microsoft's KIN brand. Passenger said that input from the community was used to influence the design of the KIN, including its keyboard, camera, flash, battery life, and other features. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Passenger provides brands with online customer input sites, and its clients also include such firms as JC Penney, Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, and Fox. The firm is venture backed by Shelter Capital Partners, StarVest Partners, and Steamboat Ventures.