It likes of Line, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, KakaoTalk and Path, all of which are eager to dominate the instant messaging segment in markets across Europe and Asia. It’s like a silent war raging between them. However, it is the Sequoia backed messaging application, WhatsApp that seems to have an edge above the rest and enjoys dominance in Europe. Not only that, the business is often considered to have all the ingredients to make a great acquisition by companies such as Facebook or Google. Meanwhile, WhatsApp has recently been in the news when it was announced to have gone free on iOS, which till recently came for a sum of $0.99.
So instead of having to buy the app for an upfront fee of $0.99, WhatsApp has been announced as a free app for a term of one year, after which users will need to pay an annual subscription fee of a very nominal $1 a year. That means the users of iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, iPod Touch can download and access to WhatsApp for free for a certain period of time.
The news didn’t come in as a surprise to the users of this app, as Jam Koum, CEO had made an announcement to this effect a few months ago. Rather, iOS is late to join the party since such a business model has already been prevalent on other popular platforms such as BlackBerry, Nokia, Windows Phone as well as Android.
Such a pricing strategy can also be considered to be in vogue these days with more and more developers adopting it with their apps. So while earlier, developers were seen eager to sell their apps for a one time upfront payment, the trend has now shifted to making available the apps free of cost while charging for premium services. It is already available for free on BlackBerry and Android.
This has been especially true for game developers that prompted this craze, whereas some other apps like texting have taken to the freemium cue.
For instance, Japanese Line, have made almost 60 million dollars in the first half of this year, in Japan itself. The profit was made through the sale of stickers and in-app purchases, which has been copied by Facebook Messenger and Path. WhatsApp which came to the spotlight in 2009 became a popular messaging service soon as users discovered it’s much more easy and cheap compared to text messages. Although WhatsApp dominates the European market, it also has a strong grasp over the Indian market as well. The company very recently has claimed that it is even larger then Twitter, recording over 200 million monthly activations a months and billions of messages transacted daily.