I've been using WhatsApp for a long time now. It's a simple solution to a texting problem, and it lets users across all smartphone platforms communicate for free via WiFi for one year. After that, the price is $.99 per year.
WhatsApp is a no-frills kind of texting app, but it's also one that simply works.
Facebook thinks WhatsApp works too, which is why the social media company has purchased WhatsApp for $19 billion. The biggest question now is: will WhatsApp change? Here's the latest from the world tech news on the purchase.
It's All About the Users
WhatsApp doesn't generate a whole lot of revenue. In fact, the company itself isn't worth much at all. So, why did Facebook Inc. shell out $19 billion for a company that doesn't make any money? Because more than 450 million people use WhatsApp, and WhatsApp is far more popular in Australia, Africa, Europe, and Latin American than Facebook Messenger could ever hope to be.
Facebook needed WhatsApp to help solidify the social network's place in the mobile world, but will it work? It might, if Facebook doesn't mess with the app too much. Facebook has stated that the company doesn't intend to add ads to WhatsApp, and that WhatsApp has been remarkably successful given the price of the yearly subscription. It seems, for now, Facebook will keep that subscription under $1. But, what about in the future?
Facebook's Failed Messenger App
Facebook's own messenger app just isn't very good. The social media company has tried to add things to the app, has removed those things, and has attempted to make the app more user-friendly. But, none of that really mattered in countries like Spain where WhatsApp is far more popular than Facebook Messenger ever will be.
In some parts of the world, people just aren't connected to social networks like Facebook, and WhatsApp provides a quick and painless SMS solution. This simplicity is something that Facebook developers never really did grasp, and that's why they've purchased WhatsApp. There are also some pretty impressive stats that go along with WhatsApp - like the 200 million voice messages sent through the SMS app every single day. That's kind of a mind-blowing stat.
Well Worth It
So, yes, Facebook did pay a lot of money for WhatsApp. But, that cost is well worth it if it means staying in relevant in the mobile world, and in places where Facebook just doesn't reach. If Facebook decides to populate WhatsApp with ads, though, all of those users could turn away. A more interesting scenario would be if the many WhatsApp users simply stop using the SMS simply because it is now owned by Facebook - that would be a really hard statement to ignore, wouldn't it?
If you currently use WhatsApp, will you continue using it now that Facebook owns the app? How many of you currently pay to use WhatsApp? Will you still use the app if it's filled with ads? Let me know what you think, and stay tuned for more details about this purchase.