For many years now MXit has been a closed walled garden mainly allowing only big brand advertisers access to the 20 million plus, and steadily growing, user base. This has proved to be the perfect strategy into turning MXit from a start-up without a real monetization strategy into the profitable business that is now expanding beyond the borders of South Africa into other nations with high mobile phone penetration like Indonesia.
MXit’s strategy was always to keep users within the application interacting with the channels, games and brands found therein. Hardly ever did they even allow other compatible instant messaging platforms like MSN and Jabber in wanting to keep everything within the ecosystem stable and under their own control. Google Talk was the only chat client that was allowed in the end and from it we saw the birth of driver education(2007), HIV and drug support systems blossom.
And like a flower in blossom MXit is opening up even more. The MXit external App API will launch near the end of this year. What could it mean for Joe Soap on his mobile? The details at this time are still not clear but as soon as I know I’ll let you know.
Before we go any further. What exactly is an API? Wikipedia defines it as…
An application programming interface (API) is an interface implemented by a software program that enables it to interact with other software. It facilitates interaction between different software programs similar to the way the user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers. It is implemented by applications, libraries, and operating systems to determine their vocabularies and calling conventions, and is used to access their services. It may include specifications for routines, data structures, object classes, and protocols used to communicate between the consumer and the implementer of the API.
Now imagine if you had access to the MXit user from within the MXit app and using this said external App API to interact with your own web app in way you could only imagine possible in the past. I believe this could see new social games or business applications for mobile develop faster than MXit could have done it on their own.
Right now you must have many questions and the business opportunities that it could entail. Feel free to post a comment with your questions and I’ll try having them answered by the smart folks at MXit. The MXit External App API is due to launch in the last quarter of 2010.
Here are already some things you can do with an external apps from within MXit:
If you’d like to be invited to the launch event feel free to post a comment below or get in touch with me on twitter @rafiq.
Update: The launch date of the MXit API event has been announced. Read more here.