The father of SMS has passed away

In case you haven’t noticed, there have been many deaths lately. John Forbes Nash, BB King, James Horner. They were all people that contributed to the development of the industry that they chose to get involved with. Those names that you just read helped one way or another, to shape the world much differently than humanity would shape reality without them. And for that, we thank them all.

It might be getting sad now, so hopefully you won’t have to read about another important person passing away for a long time.

This time we have to say our last goodbye to the man whose name is written in history and we all know him as the father of SMS. And we consider that we all know what an SMS (Short Message Service) is, so we’ll skip the explaining part and we will tell you a few things that you should now about Matti Makkonen.

Matti became popular as the father of SMS after his idea which was to include a short message service to the mobile network. In 2012, Matti himself stated during an interview that for the SMSs, the written messages will always remain approximately under the same form that we met them.

Talking about his 20th anniversary of the first text message, Makkonen mentioned that the development of the SMS is a mutual effort with Nokia, who helped spread that service to the whole world and make it what it is today. This can only count as a sample of Matti’s honesty since Nokia never took any credit for that which means that Matti could enjoy the spotlights all for himself.

According to Matti’s statement, the real outset of the short message service started when Nokia presented the first mobile phone that allowed the easy and simple creation of a text message in 1994. His exact words were: “"The real launch of the service, as I see it, was when Nokia introduced the first phone that enabled easy writing of messages (Nokia 2010 in 1994),"

Matti Makkonen was born in Suomussalmi. He graduated as an electrical engineer from the Oulu technical college in 1976. After that he firstly worked as a Finnish engineer for Nokia, Finnet Oy and Tele Finland. Thanks to his capabilities, he proved himself useful enough to receive several promotions until he was promoted to CEO of Finnet Oy on 1 February 2003.

Even though Matti was planning to retire later in 2015, sadly, he died after an illness, at the early age of 63.

He may have not had been deeper involved with other aspects of technology, but Matti’s work has been the foundations of many other services that we take for granted today. More specifically, Twitter is based on the SMS concept (which is why there is the 140-character limit), and the specific technology is still considered vital for communication in areas where mobile internet access is too expensive.

As for his personal life, not a lot is known for the SMSs but we do know for sure that he remained fascinated with communications technologies, from the Nokia 2010 mobile phone to 3G connections.

Thank you for everything Matti. Rest in peace!


By: Nancy Baker | General | Jan 1 1970
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