iPhone 3G SMS charges bypassed using AOL Instant Messenger

Next up in things that confuse, bypassing SMS charges on your shiny new iPhone using the AOL Instant Messenger app.

Slashdot posted a story where a iPhone 3G user realized he could bypass the $.20 per message SMS charges imposed on the iPhone by instead using AOL Instant Messenger. Sounds pretty obvious and somewhat harmless, right? Then again, this is the kind of thing that Apple just might consider a security concern… effectively, users can bypass fees that they should be paying, and this could translate into big dollars.

Now, I know what your thinking, AOL IM is not SMS, and you’re right, but the end result is the same. All that’s required is that the people you want to message with use AOL Instant Messenger. Of course, my good friends at Cerulean Studios will eventually release Trillian Astra, which will mean that not only should you be able to use AOL, but also MSN, GMail, ICQ, etc. all from one handy client.

I feel pretty bad for Apple on this one. I’m assuming that they had to know this would be coming, as some of the most anticipated applications for phones have been chat applications. It probably would’ve been a bad idea to have prevented the development of chat applications (and people would’ve found ways around anyways). If I were Apple, I probably would’ve added in a flat rate addition to everyone’s contract and just said SMS was unlimited. This way, I’d at least be getting back a good chunk of that money, but as far as I’m aware, they haven’t done so. I’d assume that Apple has thought of this as well, and I have to say, I think it’s really great that they didn’t go that route. Sure, they’ll miss some of those SMS dollars, but then again, it’s not likely huge in the grand scheme, and this move (or lack thereof) shows commitment to making your customers happy. Kudos to Apple, and here’s to hoping the Michigan Ave. Apple Store in Chicago won’t be so busy this week so I can go get my iPhone 3G.

[Source: zdnet]


Unknown said...

You say you feel bad for Apple. I think you mean AT&T, the service provider. How can you feel bad for them? They're already charging $30 per month for unlimited data! The additional SMS fees on top of that are ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

AIM can send messages directly to phone numbers via SMS. the first assertion in this article is not true - the recipient does not need to have AIM to receive or reply to a message.