Wednesday, September 11, 2002


Enjoyed as always your Loose Wire column, but this time (9-11-02) you definitely have a loose wire... The only thing that will hold back MMS is a mistake in the way that operators price the service -- a mistake that even if made, will be rapidly fixed.

Why do you love SMS, you write? Because SMS is a way to casually socialize, it is a way to be brief, and there is an intimacy in its use.

I don't disagree with these comments but I think it doesn't capture the richness of this developing mobile culture. Kids in Finland sending SMS messages to their friends before going to sleep just to say "good night." A message from the bar from one girlfriend to another saying "here he comes" when that tall stranger starts over. In short, the ability to remotely share an experience between two people.

For all the reasons you said that you like SMS, and for the rest of the way that this mobile culture is developing, I'd say that a picture is worth 1000 words.

In Japan the numbers are already proving this. KDDI is seeing wholesale conversion of their entire user population to picture phones. For the first time ever, new subscriber growth for KDDI topped market leader DoCoMO -- due to the picture technology that they launched first and more effectively delivered in a useable package than other providers.

Lets address your SMS arguments again:

Low commitment conversation -- MMS has the same asynchronous properties with the advantage of more interesting content

Brief messaging -- Take a snapshot and push send. This is actually briefer than typing out a message.

Intimacy -- same privacy in sending and receiving.

Maybe I don't understand your complaint -- I agree that MMS doesn't replace SMS, that these are two different mediums with two different uses. But perhaps this message has succeeded in getting you to rethink your pronouncement that MMS is a daft idea.


Ted Shelton

Chief Strategy Officer
Borland Software Corporation

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