Skip to main content

Matti Makkonen, the man behind SMS texting, dies at the age of 63

matti makkonen sms texting inventor dies 01
Kuva/Sari Gustafsson
Matti Makkonen, a Finnish tech pioneer and the man responsible for conceiving the idea of SMS texting (also known as short messaging service), has died at the age of 63 after an illness, the BBC reports.

While many considered him the father of SMS, he referred to himself as the “reluctant father” of SMS because he would not accept credit for developing the technology. He would only say that he helped in “conceiving and fleshing out SMS.”

Makkonen pitched the idea of SMS messaging to two colleagues in a pizzeria while at a telecommunications conference in 1984, but it wasn’t until December 3, 1992 that the first text message was sent from a PC to a mobile device via the Vodafone network.

“I did not consider SMS [as a] personal achievement, but [as a] result of joint [efforts] to collect ideas and write the specifications of the services based on them,” Makkonen told the BBC back in 2012.

Nokia, his former employer, also played a key role in popularizing the service. The launch of the 2010 mobile phone in 1994 made it easy for people to send messages, which led to a wider acceptance. SMS continued to grow in popularity, but has since slowed as other non-cellular messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger continue to gain popularity.

In 2000, Makkonen joined Nokia Networks Professional Services as the units director, and was the CEO of Finnet Oy from 2003 through 2005.

Jarmo Matilainen, managing director of the Finnet Association, described him as a “grand old man of the mobile industry.” Matilainen continued, “It’s very sad. He was just going to retire and he should have had many years ahead.”

Unfortunately, Makkonen wasn’t able to patent the invention of SMS messaging, since it was only a conceived idea back in 1984. He did win the Economist Innovation Award in the computing and telecommunications category in 2008 for his work on SMS, though.

Editors' Recommendations

Robert Nazarian
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Robert Nazarian became a technology enthusiast when his parents bought him a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color. Now his biggest…
Apple’s Magnetic Charging Dock for the Apple Watch is 56% off today
An Apple Watch on the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock.

Whether you're a new Apple Watch owner or you've already owned several models of the wearable device, you should always be on the lookout for discounts on accessories for the smartwatch. If you don't own it yet, the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock is currently on sale from Amazon's Woot for just $35, which is less than half its original price of $79 for savings of $44. Time is running out if you want to take advantage of this offer though, so you better hurry with your purchase if you don't want to miss out.

Why you should buy the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock
All the models of the Apple Watch use wireless charging to replenish their batteries, and if you want something else besides the magnetic charging cable that comes with every purchase, you should go for the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock. The puck at the middle may lay flat to charge your Apple Watch on top of it, or it may be raised to charge your Apple Watch at the side in Nightstand mode, which will show the time and any alarms that you have set with the wearable device.

Read more
TORRAS Ostand series for Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra adds features and it’s on sale
TORRAS Ostand Series case for Galaxy S24 Ultra used outdoors

Your new phone needs a case, but why settle for any boring old case? TORRAS makes a point of delivering truly functional, next-level cases for various mobile devices, including Samsung's brand-new Galaxy S24 Ultra. The case in question is called the Ostand series, and it has been painstakingly designed to enhance your mobile experience and even add to it. Allow us to explain. It introduces unique lens protection technology to keep the quality telephoto lens on the S24 Ultra safe and protected while still maintaining full clarity. You get gorgeous, pro-grade pictures, plus you can use the built-in 360-degree rotating case stand to get unique shots -- you can take photographs with the stability of a tripod. That's not all. It works well with Samsung's smart note-taking features, protects the speakers from dust and debris while preserving audio quality, adopts a subtle curved design to match the S24 Ultra's unique display, and much more. As TORRAS boldly claims, it's "more than a case." Why not take it for a spin or keep reading to learn what else it can do? Spoiler: It’s not just a case!
Order Now
Why you need the TORRAS Ostand Series case for your Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Featuring a lightweight titanium alloy exterior that's both lighter and more manageable than its predecessor, the Samsung S24 Ultra sets the bar for ultra-portable phones. But when you slap a case on it, at least usually, that all goes away. Not with TORRAS' Ostand series, as it emphasizes lightness and slimness. The phone still feels lightweight and enjoyable but looks as stunning as it does without any protection. More importantly, the Ostand series case is the perfect companion for your S24 Ultra, and here's why:

Read more
This smartphone camera sensor could make blurry photos a thing of the past
Metavision camera sensor tech.

Google Pixel 8 (left) and OnePlus 12 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Paris-based Prophesee made waves last year when it showcased its in-house event-based Metavision sensor tech for smartphone cameras. The core idea behind the stack was to make blurry images a thing of the past, demonstrating some impressive results during the development phase.

Read more