The makers of China’s hottest homegrown smartphone, Xiaomi, has made a curious acquisition in the form of the team behind the third-party messaging app MSNLite. The financial details of the deal haven’t been revealed, but Xiaomi’s co-founder, Huang Jiangji has confirmed that it has occurred, and described the Microsoft MSN clone as the best MSN client software .
One possible motivation behind the acquisition is that Xiaomi, which also makes the mobile-oriented, Whatsapp-esque group messaging app Miliao, wants to give that app some desktop/PC support to make it more like Apple’s Facetime.
MSNLite is popular, reportedly having millions of users. It’s a desktop app that started development in September 2010. With such a generic and odd name (and copyright-infringing too?), it’s hard to search for, but I eventually tracked it down to Hada.me.
For now, says Xiaomi’s co-founder, the MSNLite team will come work in Xiaomi’s Beijing HQ, and adverts will be dropped from the MSNLite app. It’s likely that the MSNLite app will morph into the Miliao PC app – or the team of geeks it has acquired will make a separate app for that purpose. The Miliao.com homepage says that it has 17 million users for its mobile messaging app, putting it behind NHN Line’s 50 million and WeChat’s 100 million.
[Source: QQ Tech - article in Chinese]
Isn’t that a bit like a Victorian freak show running a beauty contest? ↩