One billion people are now using WhatsApp Facebook-owned smartphone messaging service. The mobile messaging service already acquired by Facebook two years ago in a deal valued at 19 billion USD.
WhatsApp’s community has more than doubled since joining Facebook. We’ve added the ability for you to call loved ones far away. We’ve dropped the subscription fee and made WhatsApp completely free. Next, we’re going to work to connect more people around the world and make it easier to communicate with businesses. – Mark Zuckerberg
The ranks of people using WhatsApp have more than doubled since Facebook bought the service for US$19 billion (S$27 billion) in late 2014, according to Mr Zuckerberg.
Recent media reports have indicated that Facebook is working behind the scenes to integrate WhatsApp more snugly into the world’s leading social network by providing the ability to share information between the services.
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Now the task for Koum and company is to find a viable source of revenue. Thanks to the Facebook acquisition, they have ample runway, but the particulars of their business model are still evolving. Two weeks ago, the company dropped its $1-a-year subscription fee (which only kicked in after one, anyway), saying it planned to make money through businesses that use the app to communicate with consumers.
“Our mission has never changed,” the company said Monday in a blog post. “WhatsApp began as a simple idea: ensuring that anyone could stay in touch with family and friends anywhere on the planet, without costs or gimmicks standing in the way.”
The idea is that you’ll use WhatsApp to make restaurant reservation, book plane flights, and the like. It’s a market that Facebook is also exploring through Messenger, and that an app called WeChat has already mastered in China.