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WhatsApp expanding subscription model to iOS

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 18 Mar 2013 21:05 User comments (9)

WhatsApp expanding subscription model to iOS WhatsApp, the popular cross-market mobile messaging application, has announced it will be expanding its annual subscription model to iOS.
Currently, the app has a one-time $1 upfront fee for iOS. On Android, the app is free but the service costs $1 per year. The same goes for BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

"We're relaxed on dates, but definitely this year. It's on the road map," Jan Koum, WhatsApp's CEO, said in an interview.

WhatsApp has over 130 million users, and 17 billion messages are sent and received daily, making it hugely popular, especially within Android.

When asked if the company is working on a desktop version of the service, Koum says they are not. "We get that question asked a lot. We feel strongly that the world is moving to mobile and [so] we want to be mobile-only. Your phone is with you all the time, and desktop is to many becoming a secondary experience. [So] our answer is no, not anytime soon."

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9 user comments

118.3.2013 22:47

feel the pain apple users!

219.3.2013 7:21

They are a conceited bunch of idiots for not seeing that such a business model is doomed and it will sink their service into oblivion.

They achieved some notoriety despite having a crappy app just because it was free (millions of Android users don't even know how to setup a Google Wallet account, or just won't do it, at least while there are many free alternatives that can do the very same thing).

So, in short, as most app makers do, they should ALWAYS provide a free version, ad-supported and/or with less features if they want to keep their current userbase at its max. If they make it a paid service for everyone, even if it's $0.99 a year, or just a single cent, eventually EVERYONE will switch to another free app such as LINE, which provides, at least, the same service, among other benefits like a better UI, the ability of logging in from several different devices simultaneously, and, YES, the desktop version that, in their own words, Whatsapp will NEVER have.

It's pretty clear to anyone with a minimum amount of grey matter that they are digging their own grave here. The only thing Line does not have currently is the huge userbase of Whatsapp, but they're growing very fast, and this stupid move can be the final push that will put Line on the top of the game and them out of the way for good.


"You know, it seems that quotes on the internet are becoming less and less reliable." -Abraham Lincoln.

319.3.2013 7:37

... And if anyone is thinking that a service as big as Whatsapp is now can't lose its userbase so quickly, please think again. Remember Live Messenger, non-Google webmail, non-Google search engines, and that other social site, what was its name -- Oh, yes, myspace?

They may get some cash at the beginning, but eventually they'll lose their dominant position, which will push more and more users out and new ones will not even consider to install it. Worst move ever.


"You know, it seems that quotes on the internet are becoming less and less reliable." -Abraham Lincoln.

420.3.2013 1:14

Originally posted by dali:
... And if anyone is thinking that a service as big as Whatsapp is now can't lose its userbase so quickly, please think again. Remember Live Messenger, non-Google webmail, non-Google search engines, and that other social site, what was its name -- Oh, yes, myspace?

You could make the argument that Whatsapp will loose their userbase quicker than any of the services you mentioned if Line or other messaging app takes off. It's not like messaging apps are that complex. All they need to be is reliable, have emojis and the ability to send files and have a clean and user friendly interface.

The next 12 months should be interesting...


520.3.2013 5:28

Originally posted by pensfan12:
You could make the argument that Whatsapp will loose their userbase quicker than any of the services you mentioned if Line or other messaging app takes off. It's not like messaging apps are that complex. All they need to be is reliable, have emojis and the ability to send files and have a clean and user friendly interface.

Exactly! And when there are free alternatives such as Line, which synchronizes not only with your phonebook, but also with facebook and email, among many other enhancements, making the old-fashioned whatsapp a paid-only service is merely arrogant and suicidal.

I'm not saying that it should be free forever. Of course, it's a business and it must pay off. I just don't understand why they don't provide two alternatives, paid and ad-supported, which is what EVERYONE does, maybe because it is, for now, what actually works.

Originally posted by pensfan12:
The next 12 months should be interesting...


Agreed. My bet is that Whatsapp will be gone by then, unless their makers start to think. Just a bit, but right now.

"You know, it seems that quotes on the internet are becoming less and less reliable." -Abraham Lincoln.

620.3.2013 8:07

Originally posted by dali:

I'm not saying that it should be free forever. Of course, it's a business and it must pay off. I just don't understand why they don't provide two alternatives, paid and ad-supported, which is what EVERYONE does, maybe because it is, for now, what actually works.

What I find funny is how they have justified their reason for no ads on the WhatsApp website.

The creators have every right to their own opinions on advertising but does it make business sense to force your beliefs onto your users?
Especially an app which requires a large user base to be useful! Once a few of your contacts refuse to pay it will just be a domino effect.

Originally posted by dali:

Agreed. My bet is that Whatsapp will be gone by then, unless their makers start to think. Just a bit, but right now.

I think it will still be around, but it certainly won't be #1.

But one things for sure it won't be around in 5 years, yet they still try and sell 5 year subscriptions on the Android version!

721.3.2013 8:12

That explanation of theirs is indeed nothing but as arrogant as the rest of their site. They have not much to show off, but at least they should display some care for their customers, and that's why they'll lose them inevitably.

I think you're quite right on your predictions. Maybe (just maybe), they are smarter than I thought, so they know they can't compete with Line and many others in the long run, hence anticipated the imminent fall of their service and right now they're just trying to get quickly the maximum cash they can before shutting it down for good. Classic scorched Earth.


"You know, it seems that quotes on the internet are becoming less and less reliable." -Abraham Lincoln.

822.3.2013 3:01

I use kik messenger more then anything else always have done.

922.3.2013 6:36

Originally posted by chefdamo:
I use kik messenger more then anything else always have done.

I'll give it a try, but I guess most of my contacts won't have it, so I won't be able to chat with them if I don't instruct them to download it as well. This is what it's all about, the dominant service, the domino effect.

"You know, it seems that quotes on the internet are becoming less and less reliable." -Abraham Lincoln.

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