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移动应用

商业 - 科技

免费短信应用敲响传统短信丧钟

JP Mangalindan 2013年05月03日

智能手机兴起后,微信、苹果iMessag等等可以通过互联网免费发送短信的服务不断挤压着传统手机短信服务的生存空间,导致传统电信运营商每年损失了几十亿美元的收入。手机短信的丧钟已经敲响。

苹果iMessage、WhatsApp和Facebook Messenger等移动短信应用正不断侵蚀传统短信。

    不是危言耸听,我们可以肯定地说,短信已经来日无多。罪魁祸首是谁?苹果(Apple)iMessage以及WhatsApp等一大票应用程序。根据瑞士调研公司Informa的数据,用户通过应用程序发送的即时信息数量在2012年首次超过了传统短信。两者差距在2013年将进一步扩大:通过应用程序发送的消息数将超过500亿条,而传统短信数只有210亿条。

    虽然美国电话电报公司(AT&T)和威瑞森(Verizon)等运营商很早就推出了可无限量发送短信的高价手机话费套餐,但在很多情况下,短信应用程序的优势仍然相当明显,而且它们大都是免费的。假如拥有一部iPhone,它的iMessage发送速度更快而且用户能知道对方什么时候阅读了信息。目前大热的WhatsApp发布于2009年,支持苹果、谷歌(Google)Android、Windows Phone和黑莓(BlackBerry)等多个平台。首席执行官杨•库姆上月早些时候透露,WhatsApp的用户数已赶超Twitter,而后者早在去年12月就号称用户数已经突破了2亿。至于Facebook,由于它的短消息服务和Facebook平台关系紧密,所以Facebook的移动短信业务拥有数量惊人的10亿用户!

    大受欢迎、简单便捷、不花一分钱,看来传统短信业务的衰退已经不可避免。这对于移动运营商来说可谓噩耗,因为它们恰恰就是靠来自无限量短信套餐的利润来充实净收益。来自伦敦的调研机构Ovum最近研究指出,高速发展的短信应用在2013年将吞噬掉运营商326亿美元营收,而到2020年,这个数字更将高达860亿美元。

    不过,并不是所有人都认为传统短信业务已奄奄一息。MessageMe联合创始人阿均•赛思说:“每天有成百上千万的智能手机被激活,联入新的应用服务。它意味着两种短信平台都有生存空间。”MessageMe也是一款聊天应用,用户能分享图片、涂鸦、歌曲、视频和位置信息。它从安德森•霍洛维茨基金(Andreessen Horowitz)、格雷洛克基金(Greylock)和谷歌投资(Google Ventures)等公司获得了190万美元投资。MessageMe自3月发布以来,仅用了短短一周的时间就发展了100多万用户。

    所以,即便短信业务不会完全消失,它也会像语音业务一样不断猥琐,再也找不回当年移动通信时代的霸主地位。(财富中文网)

    译者:项航

    It's been said before, but it's now official: SMS texting's days are numbered. The culprit? Messaging apps like Apple (AAPL) iMessage and WhatsApp. According to Switzerland-based firm Informa, 2012 marked the first year mobile users sent more messages over these kinds of apps than traditional text. By next year, the difference will be vast: 50 billion messages tapped out by way of chat apps versus just 21 billion texts.

    Though carriers like AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) have long since offered cell phone plans with unlimited texts for a premium, messaging apps offer a better alternative in many cases, often for free. Own an iPhone? iMessaging transmits faster and offers the added optional benefit of letting users see when their message has been read. Launched in 2009, WhatsApp works on Apple, Google (GOOG) Android, Windows (MSFT) Phone and BlackBerry (BBRY) devices. The app is so popular, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum revealed earlier this month it has more users than Twitter, which reported 200 million-plus members last December. And because Facebook (FB) and its messaging service are so deeply intertwined, its mobile messaging platform benefits from a built-in membership 1 billion-strong.

    Given the popularity, convenience, and cost savings of free services, it seems inevitable text messaging should take a hit. That's bad news for mobile carriers, who pad their bottom lines with the profits from unlimited text plans. According to a recent study by London-based research firm Ovum, the rise of messaging apps will cost them $32.6 billion of lost revenue in 2013 and as much as $86 billion come 2020.

    Not everyone is convinced, however, that SMS texting is on life support. "Millions of smart phone devices are being activated daily and connecting to new app services. That means there is room for both messaging platforms," explains Arjun Sethi, co-founder of MessageMe, a chat app that lets users also share photos, doodles, songs, videos, and their location. With $1.9 million in funding from backers like Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock, and Google Ventures, MessageMe rolled out last month and picked up 1 million users after just one week.

    So while text messaging may not disappear entirely, it means, just like the decline of voice usage, that it won't be the dominant form of communication it used to be.

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