Wednesday 17 July 2013

WhatsApp Messenger on iOS becomes free, will now follow subscription model

WhatsApp Messenger for iOS devices is now free. With this, the app now has the same subscription model as can be seen in the Android and Windows Phone versions, with the first year being free for new users and maintaining subscriptions for subsequent years costing $1 per year. However, those who have already bought the app need not worry about the subscription, since they already have a lifetime subscription to the service at no extra charge.

This move hasn't been a surprise. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum had talked about bringing the subscription model to the iOS version of the app in an interview with Dutch journalist Alexander Klopping back in March. This is undoubtedly in an attempt to widen the potential audience for WhatsApp. For many, even the low price tag of WhatsApp (Rs 55) was too much for something they just wanted to try out. However, it is worth noting that even back when it was a paid app, it was still on the top 10 paid apps list on the iTunes App Store.

WhatsApp is undoubtedly an extremely popular messaging service. Just last month, the company had revealed that the messaging service had crossed the 250 million user base milestone. This gives WhatsApp a lead of 50 million users over Twitter, a service that boasted of 200 million users at last count. The four-year-old cross-platform messaging service has left the likes of Viber, Nimbuzz and WeChat behind and is now running neck-in-neck with the likes of Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook Messenger.

The service, which usually processes about 18 billion inbound and 12 billion outbound messages a day, had seen a spike in activity where it claims that it processed a whopping 27 billion inbound 17 billion outbound messages in a 24 hour period. WhatsApp did not specify the details of when the figures were collected.

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