On a day when a high-profile columnist declared the death of text messaging with the coming of Apple’s iMessage, an interview I did with SmartBrief focused on the strength of SMS marketing programs.
In the morning on the daily SmartBrief blog, the headline read SMS is still mobile’s secret weapon. http://smartblogs.com/socialmedia/2011/06/06/sms-is-still-mobiles-secret-weapon/
For that story, I told reporter Adam Mazmanian that text messaging provides marketers with reach. It hardly is an end-all for marketers, therefore the need for more engaging tactics such as mobile web, apps, QR codes, and MMS.
Then, after the Apple announcements, MG Siegler wrote on Techcrunch that Apple’s new instant messaging program called iMessage will spell the end of SMS. http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/06/apple-imessages/
“As one of the core new features highlighted today in iOS 5, iMessages has one purpose: to kill SMS,” Siegler wrote. “That is, traditional carrier-controlled text messages. iMessages will do this by replacing SMS with a service that Apple is in control of across all of their iOS devices. And here’s the real death blow: iMessages will be completely free.
“Sure, you can argue that iMessages is limited due to the iOS requirement. But as Apple announced today, there are over 200 million iOS devices out there now. That’s a lot. Like Blackberry Messenger before it, Apple now has the strength to create their own device-to-device messaging application. And that’s exactly what they’ve done. And considering what a colossal rip-off SMS is, I can’t help but love this move. It’s exactly what I’ve been waiting for.”
There are many reasons why Siegler wrote this piece – as link bait (of course, I fell for it), to drive comments (there were 72 three hours after the piece posted as well as over 900 tweets), or perhaps because he thinks like a tech reporter, not a typical mobile subscriber who texts daily (over 70 percent of the more than 300 million mobile users in the U.S. use SMS).
iMessage simply won’t kill SMS because Apple has it as part of a closed system – you can only message if you have an iOS device and the person you are reaching out to is an Apple consumer.
If not, no go.
It’s a message Siegler fails to get.