Mxit

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Mxit
Mxit Logo 2014-05-07.jpg.jpeg
Developer(s) Flag of South Africa.svg Mxit (Pty) Ltd.
Initial release 2007
Stable release See → Current versions
Development status Active
Operating system Microsoft Windows, Windows Mobile, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Java ME, Linux, BlackBerry OS
Type Instant Messenger
License Freeware
Website www.mxit.com
www.mxitlifestyle.com

Mxit (pronounced "mix it") is a free instant messaging application developed by Mxit (Pty) Ltd. in South Africa that runs on over 8000 devices, including feature phones, Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone and tablets.[1]

According to a study by consultancy World Wide Worx, Mxit had 7,4 million monthly active subscribers in July 2013, of which 6,3 million are in South Africa.[2]

History[edit]

Mxit originates from Stellenbosch, a university town in South Africa. In 1997, Herman Heunis established Swist Group Technologies and focused primarily on the mobile telecommunications industry, developing software and providing system support to large Telco's. In 2000 Clockspeed Mobile, a research and development division of Swist Group Technologies, developed a Massive Multiplayer Mobile game named Alaya. The game was SMS based and was not successful due to the high cost of SMS since GPRS was still not widely implemented. In 2003 the game was reassessed and the MXit concept was conceived by Herman that same year, MXit has evolved to become a major IM player in the South African arena thereafter.[3] In April 2004 Clockspeed Mobile became independent and on 1 July 2006 became MXit Lifestyle (Pty) Ltd.[4] In January 2007, media giant Naspers acquired a 30% stake in the company for an undisclosed amount.[5] In 2013, competitor 2go overtook Mxit in term of users across Africa. [6]

In September 2011, Mxit was acquired by South African investment group, World of Avatar.[7]

Following the abrupt resignation of then boss, Alan Knott-Craig Jr, Francois Swart received the nod from Mxit to become the new CEO (Mzekandaba, 2013).[8]

Former CEO of First National Bank (FNB), Michael Jordaan was announced chairman of the Mxit board in September 2013.[9]

Features[edit]

Mxit was first released as a mobile phone IM client, Mxit requires Java and internet connectivity via CSD, GPRS, 3G or wifi to run.

Originally built for feature phones, versions have also been released for the BlackBerry, Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile devices and tablets.[10]

In addition to one-on-one and group chat functions, Mxit offers public chat zones as well an apps and games ecosystem.[11]

Collaborators[edit]

Mxit Reach[edit]

Mxit Reach is focused around using the innovative technology built by Mxit to create free mobile educational, health care and agricultural and community applications. They aim to build collaborative partnerships that target critical areas in Africa specifically, but also globally (Mxit Reach, 2013).[12]

Mxit Reach is geared for partner participation to:

  • Educate in health, agriculture & knowledge sharing.
  • Enhance the growth in productivity.
  • Align with advocacy programs in support for the MDGs
  • Assist with what they already do bigger, better, faster and cheaper.

Pondering Panda[edit]

Pondering Panda is a research company that uses mobile technology to deliver larger samples, faster and more cost-effectively than traditional research suppliers.

Pondering Panda engages with their users on Mxit to conduct research and track relevant trends. With Mxit’s 6.5 million + active users Pondering Panda uses the Mxit social network to benchmark themselves into a highly engaging audience which consists of the young connected community (Pondering Panda, 2013).[13]

Platforms[edit]

Supported platforms[edit]

Mxit is available on a variety of mobile and Computing platforms, each independently developed for the platform. These are:

Current versions[edit]

Platform Current version Release date Third party
Java ME 7.1.0 12 November 2013 No
BlackBerry 7.0.1.389 27 January 2014 No
iPhone 7.2.0 5 April 2014 No
Android 7.2.1 23 April 2014 No
Windows Phone 8 1.0.3.1 6 December 2012 No
Windows Phone 7 1.0.3.0 25 May 2012 No
Linux 2.9.0, Pidgin 23 June 2011 Yes, Pidgin only,
bundled plugin
Microsoft Windows 2.9.0, Pidgin
2.0.1, MXit Evo
23 June 2011
13 December 2010
Yes, Pidgin,
bundled plugin
Mac OS X 1.0 31 August 2009 Yes, Adium only,
separate plugin[14]

International presence[edit]

Mxit operates in many international markets. Mxit is officially supported in Malaysia, India, Indonesia, United Kingdom, United States, Nigeria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. In August 2007 Mxit commissioned their European Data Centre located in Frankfurt, Germany. The purpose of this server farm is to take over most of the international traffic from the South African servers.[15] In September 2010, Mxit launched in Kenya, making it the first country outside of South Africa to have access to the full range of features.

Criticism[edit]

Media coverage[edit]

Articles in the 27 July 2006 editions of YOU and Huisgenoot magazines indirectly implied that Mxit enables access to pornography and allows paedophiles to contact minor users, often by pretending to be minors themselves. On 30 July 2006, the M-Net actuality program Carte Blanche broadcast an insert in which a young girl explained how an alleged pedophile contacted her via Mxit. The girl, however, admitted that she violated the Mxit rule not to share personal contact details with other users.[16] The creators of Mxit have since aligned themselves with South African law enforcement to further secure minors' safety when using Mxit.[17]

Exam results[edit]

Numerous news agencies and papers have placed articles in which they quote parents from all over South Africa who claim that Mxit is having an effect on their children's school work. Parents argue that their children fail to communicate properly and find themselves in their own world of mobile chatrooms. This has led to parents starting to confiscate their children's phones.[18]

References[edit]

External links[edit]