South Africa do you remember Mxit? Yes you holding the smartphone…. Do you remember the PCM’s you use to get from friends telling you to log on, remember the chatrooms you use to visit.. Yes those days seem like yesterday for most South Africans, but Mxit is in limbo and it needs a kick to get out.
Mxit was created by Nigerian born developer Herman Heunis, it started out as a simple and cheaper means of communicating via text through updates that changed. Revenue started turning the companies vision into any other company out looking for money. Now and then I still log on to Mxit, but a few seconds later I log out due to the fact no one is online and that the endless annoying Tradepost and Info messages are all I get.
Mxit is still one of the most used social networks on the continent and in South Africa its used more then Facebook and Twitter, but what’s going on now is Facebook has is more open and you’re sure to find who ever your looking for with real names, Twitter is simple instant and more direct, you follow who you want and It has an open flow of information. Mxit tries to be a gateway for those services, but the experience isn’t the best….especially on smartphones.
Twitter and Facebook can be accessed on smartphones and on internet connected feature phones, but what’s driving them are smartphones and that’s one of Mxit’s down falls they fail at driving the users base on smartphone. So in fact smartphone will out sell feature phones one day and that means Mxit will lose against the giants on the continent
The main reason Mxit is in turmoil is cause of its biggest competitor Whatsapp which has +200million user base worldwide, Whatsapp stuck to what they do best and that’s messaging, something Mxit forgot about after version 3. Whatsapp is always connected that’s the one advantage it has over Mxit which for some reason mxit hasn’t learned from. People always want to be connected even if the other person isn’t available if the message isn’t read the other person at least can acknowledge that so and so sent them a message.
Blackberry is the greatest contributor to the sudden decline in interest for mxit, as BBM gave users that exclusivity, VNs and Pings that people off feature phones. I remember back in 2009 when I had my first Blackberry it wasn’t the BBM that interested people as I didn’t have anyone to chat to, it was the BIS that drove people to the device, as MTN has killed that service and surely in the following years the other network providers will follow suit of MBs choosing between smartphone platforms will work in Mxit’s favor if it does the right things.
Mxit has what it takes to recover in the long run, they need to first be able to bridge the gap by having an always online app for smartphones as they can handle it, and one for feature phones that bridges the gap between smartphone users and feature phone users as not everyone has a smartphone. Mxit needs to dump it’s many services that’s holding it down or simple separate itself from them in a way that they can be found, but it doesn’t stray a way from the core feature and that’s messaging.
Mxit desperately needs someone that can take it in the right direction former CEO Alan Knott-Craig pictured bellow did a stella job, but the shareholders weren’t on his side in the direction he was looking to take, I’m sure he would’ve made the right decisions.
Mxit has 10 million users in South Africa, its used in 128 countries. It is represented in international markets that include Malaysia, Kenya, India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, United States, Nigeria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. What’s stopping Mxit from being the next Viber?
Mxit needs to do what Apple done when Steve Jobs got back to Apple in 1997 simplify things. Producing too many things and hoping to strike gold isn’t something they should be doing.
With so many alternatives in chatting applications Mxit should be getting back to basics and start getting back those loyal users they lost.
If Mxit doesn’t watch out it maybe looking at a future near to Myspace or they can simply redo things and take notes from Yahoo! . Whatever happens I still believe that Mxit can make a comeback.