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MXit: Knott-Craig announces restructure, job losses expected

The recent acquisition of popular instant messaging platform MXit, the biggest in Africa, came with the promise of big changes.

Now the company’s new CEO, Alan Knott-Craig Jnr, has put his money where his mouth is by announcing a “company restructure”, meaning more focus, more innovation and job losses.

Knott-Craig says his new plans involve focusing MXit on what he believes it does best.

“We are a communications platform, that what we are. We need to stop doing everything else and do what we do best and that’s communication,” he says.

Speaking to Memeburn exclusively Knott-Craig explains that the company’s new organisational structure at MXit “will leave some people without jobs”.

“We are not going to make the mistake companies like Facebook have made, by trying to be everything to everyone. We are just going to be a switch with a wallet component that allows people to hook in via an API.”

“I consider MXit to be a country. A country has citizens, enterprise and an economy. The wallet component to the platform is the key for monetisation by third parties.”

Knott-Craig explains that all stand-alone products and businesses at MXit will be “spun out” and that “eventually everything will be privatised”.

The temptation, he believes, is that it’s “exciting” to be in all spaces. He would rather let someone else develop other products like games and use MXit as their core delivery platform.

“The restructure has nothing to do with individuals, it’s simply case of moving back to basics. We are a communications platform, not a games company or a gift company.”

*Watch out for Memeburn’s exclusive with Alan Knott-Craig on the future of MXit

Author | Mich Atagana

Mich Atagana
Mich started out life wanting to be a theoretical physicist but soon realized that mathematics was required. So, she promptly let go of that dream. She then decided that law might be the best place for her talents, but with too many litigation classes missed in favour of feminist... More
  • NoahB

    I seem to remember something about job losses not being on the cards, but anyway. What I find most interesting about this announcement is that MXit is now taking itself even closer to being a core bulk communications app – which means it’s now even more threatened by BBM, WhatsApp and others. When it was an ecosystem of services, they could at least hang their hat on something other than what all the other competing services are already killing them at. This could be the very moment in which MXit jumped the shark, positively or negatively. Knott-Craig just bet the farm on black. He better hope that red doesn’t come up when the wheel stops spinning.

  • Yes, heaven forbid you make the mistakes that Facebook has made.  Wouldn’t want to end up in the awful position that company is in.

  • I like this, focus on building a great API and support it with a payments platform. I think this is a good move for mxit, and could open up some cool possibilities for developers.

  • Will

    They might want to hire a PR specialist though.
    What’s wrong with simply saying “restructuring” or “focussing on core offering” and the like? “Job losses expected” never sounds encouraging.

  • Andrewstellies

    They got rid of their PR specialist…

  • Andrewstellies

    They got rid of their PR specialist…

  • Facebook is undoubtedly getting too bloated with all the clutter that gets added.  However, in many ways the changes that Alan is proposing for Mxit are about taking the “good bits” in Facebook’s strategy.  A lot of what makes Facebook so compelling for users (and hence ultimately so valuable) is their third-party ecosystem.  Facebook started with a good base: a social network, and gave it a decent API.  That allowed Zynga and the likes to flourish.  (Facebook doesn’t actually compete all that heavily with its third parties.  It never got into the games business, or the dating business, or whatnot.  The same cannot be said for Mxit – and that was a mistake in my opinion.)  Mxit doesn’t have a great API, and needs to up its game in building a flourishing third party ecosystem (and needs to start eating its own dog-food Amazon-style).  That’s what Alan is proposing (I think).

  • Not sure how the proposed changes make Mxit any less of an ecosystem?  The point here seems to be that Mxit is going to become MORE of an ecosystem.  The mistake Mxit made (in my opinion) was to try to do everything in-house, instead of coming up with a compelling, simple API for developers (which is also used in-house).  The success of Facebook (on the one hand) and mobile app stores (on the other hand) shows that you can create a lot of value for your platform by giving external developers the power to build an ecosystem and make money from it.

  • Pingback: The new MXit: A focus on social media, smartphones and African expansion | memeburn()

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