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Jabber builds IM bridge to SMS chat rooms

Lifebelt for cash strapped and clueless wireless networks

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The open source instant messenger project Jabber has taken a step towards becoming the technology behind SMS chat rooms.

It’s a potential lifebelt for the wireless networks who’ve spent a fortune on WAP, 2.5G and 3G, and have little clue how to see a eke out a return on their investments. To date, SMS text messaging is the only data service that’s proven to make the carriers money, even though it costs consumers about $1,000 per Megabyte. And the next step is to evolve texting from a person-to-person mechanism into a location-aware group chat system like AOL IM.

Jabber developer Jabber,Inc has signed a deal with Antepo to jointly bundler Jabber with Antepo’s SMS and WAP gateways to wireless network operators. Although the deal is more marketing than technological, it paves the way for tighter integation between the two.

Jabber already acts as a bridge between its own XML-based chat and the proprietary Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo IM clients.

Since Jabber is open source, carriers can work the technology into their own messaging back ends, although it requires reciprocal work on client software, which we haven’t yet seen.

France Telecom invested $7m and took a 23 per cent stake in Jabber, Inc. back in May. Not all networks seem so clueful, however, and are still touting warmed over content as the money spinner. ®

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