CEO Jan Koum announced on a blog post the company’s new milestone and has talked about how the WhatsApp team got to this position without having any promotion and have worked to ensure no advertisements are placed on the application, unlike messaging competitors.
The rapid success of WhatsApp actually isn’t that rapid, the app has been growing since 2009 and was one of the first really big ‘paid apps’ on the iOS Apps Store. The growth has become greater due to the huge adoption of Android and WhatsApp availability on almost all mobile platforms.
WhatsApp has a small design team and has often been hit for having a dull user experience. The WhatsApp team do not see this as a problem however, with the lead engineers all believing the simple design makes messaging more user friendly.
WhatsApp has more users than Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat – the three major competitors are Facebook, Google+ and iMessage. We are not sure how many use Google+ for messaging, the integration of Messaging on Android 4.4 is bound to help the progression.
We are not sure what the future will look like for WhatsApp, they have no long term sustainability unless they rely on donations like Wikipedia. Since they are against monetization of the application, they will need to look down that route, since users will not just keep spawning.
There has been chatter on WhatsApp getting sold to Facebook and Google, but nothing has come of this. WhatsApp huge audience may draw $1 billion offers in, but we suspect the company values their app more than that of Instagram and Snapchat, even if it has limited functionality outside messaging.