I always feel nervous disagreeing publicly with people who I know are qualified, intelligent, and nice folks... but Russell's recent post about the failure of MMS pushed a few buttons.

He takes the view that MMS hasn't worked, but (as I've written before) I'm not so sure it can be considered a failure. Perhaps the biggest problem with MMS is that it's lined up (through its name, if nothing else) for comparison with SMS. 23 million messages a year doesn't sound like many compared to the 2 billion SMSs a month which get passed around... but then SMS stats would look pretty crappy if you put them alongside, say, overall numbers of face-to-face voice conversations people have.

23 million doesn't sound too bad, for a messaging technology which is (as Russell points out) overpriced and frequently doesn't work out of the box.

According to the Mobile Data Association, SMS was launched commercially in 1995, and proper interconnect agreements between operators weren't sorted until 1998. Does this sound familiar? Can anyone reading provide equivalent figures for SMS traffic in 1996/97?

There's a lot I agree with in Russell's post (his points about the usability problems of composing content are spot on), but I'm not sure we can write MMS off just yet. And as for his desire for free content for composing MMS messages... couldn't you consider a built-in camera one such source of content?