Info-tech

Sabeer Bhatia introduces free SMS app

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on December 17, 2011

Sabeer Bhatia, CEO & Co-Founder of Jaxtr Inc, during the launch of 'JaxtrSMS' in Mumbai on Tuesday. - PTI



Mr Sabeer Bhatia, better known for co-founding the world's first Web-based email service (Hotmail), is now on a mission to make text messaging more affordable.

“This product will do to text messaging what Hotmail did to e-mail 15 years back,” he said at a press conference announcing the launch of JaxtrSMS, a text messaging application his start-up has developed for mobile handsets.

Users of JaxtrSMS will be able to send text messages to any mobile phone in the world without paying for the communication. The only cost to the subscriber will be that of using the product on a data-enabled handset.

Jaxtr Inc, the company which owns the product, will make its revenues predominantly through contextual advertising. Moreover, it will charge a fee to users who wish to send multimedia messages using the platform, said Mr Bhatia, who is the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Unlike some of the existing text messaging applications, the messages using JaxtrSMS can be sent to even those who do not have the same application installed in their mobile handsets.

Moreover, JaxtrSMS retains the number of the sender and no new number is required while signing up for the service, he added.

Free download

The service, which is available as a free download for all major mobile platforms (iPhone, Android, Blackberry and J2ME), has been downloaded in 197 countries since its soft launch recently, said a press statement.

Despite enabling free messaging, the company has said it will not allow its platform to be used for telemarketing.

“If there are any complaints from subscribers of the service being used for spamming, we will block the spammers…even if there are no complaints, we have a system in place to check and act on those who violate our terms of engagement,” Mr Bhatia told Business Line.

The application also complies with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's new mandate of allowing only 200 SMSes per day from an SIM.

By next year, the company expects to garner about 100 million subscribers across the world for the product, which has been completely developed in India. Mr Bhatia expects to raise between $10 million and $15 million from investors over the next few months as the company ramps up the subscriber numbers.

It may be recalled that Mr Bhatia had founded the first browser-based e-mail service, Hotmail, before selling it to Microsoft in 1997 for an estimated $400 million.

>adith@thehindu.co.in

Published on November 22, 2011

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