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Photo: S3studio via Getty Images

Tech and telecom companies are pushing into the "rich messaging" arena, which allows upgrades over SMS texting such as video chat, high-resolution photo sharing and location sharing.

Why it matters: Companies and platforms are racing to build rich messaging services as people move communication with friends and family from open social platforms to encrypted messaging.

  • iMessage is currently considered one of the most widely-used rich messaging services. Social tech companies, like Facebook, Tencent, etc. own the bulk rich messaging app services around the world.
  • A push to compete with some of these platforms, and iMessage in particular, in rich messaging is coming from a consortium of mobile carriers, operating systems and manufacturers that have banded together to create an experience that works across carriers, devices and operating systems called RCS (Rich Communication Services) Messaging.

RCS Messaging takes features from a bunch of messaging platforms, like text, video cha and audio file sharing. It creates a seamless messaging system across devices, operating systems and wireless providers— (like Samsung, LG Electronics, and AT&T) — that could compete with the likes of iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WeChat or Whatsapp.

  • The goal is to use the mass reach of dozens of providers to eventually replace all standard text messaging with "rich" text messaging, that fosters far more engagement and advances mobile technology use.
  • Currently, there are 55 operators involved with the RCS push, with 167 million monthly active users.

The big picture: To give you a sense of how fast RCS is growing, the GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association) expects RCS to double in adoption to 350 million global monthly active users by next year, a size roughly comparable to that of Twitter.

Go deeper: How today's teens communicate.

Go deeper

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

This arthritis drug cost $198 in 2008. Now it's more than $10,000

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In 2008, a box of 30 anti-inflammatory rectal suppositories that treats arthritis, called Indocin, had a price tag of $198. As of Oct. 1, the price of that same box was 52 times higher, totaling $10,350.

Why it matters: As federal lawmakers continue to waver on drug price reforms, Indocin is another example of how nothing prevents drug companies from hiking prices at will and selling them within a broken supply chain.

Fintech's record year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Massive venture rounds into fintech companies have ballooned this year, pushing up total dollars invested — in just the first three quarters of 2021 — to nearly double the amount in all of 2020, per new PitchBook data.

Why it matters: The maturing of fintech startups means a growing number of companies are able to raise huge later-stage funding rounds as investors look to lock-in their bets.