Whatsapp Remains Free. Will Foray Into Enterprise Space. End of Chat Apps? Actually Not

Whatsapp has finally decided not to charge its users even after a year-long usage (thanks to severe competition from Telegram?).

The company is also not introducing third party ads in the app.

“WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees. For many years, we’ve asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well. Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”

Plus, Whatsapp has stated that starting this year it will try and test new tools for businesses and organizations to communicate through Whatsapp.

WhatsApp’s Enterprise Foray : What It Really Means

“That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam,” said the blog.

Is This The End Of Chat Apps?

Well, actually not !

For chat based personal assistant startups like MagicTiger / Helpchat, chat is an interface to get users to transact / buy services. If all they are selling is chat like simplicity and NO compelling services, they are definitely up for a doomsday!

Note that most of the chat apps first started on Whatsapp – this has been the easiest way to find product market fit. The infra + easier to get users has been a huge positive for WA.

In fact, WhatsApp’s B2B foray will open up great avenue for services companies to move their support services to WhatsApp (which again will impact telco revenues)!

Who will suffer the most? Startups who are building /selling chat-as-a-service and selling to businesses (for instance, GoodBox raised $3mn from Nexus), unless their core lies in enabling businesses to get their catalogue online / products online.

But don’t worry.

WhatsApp launch will not happen so soon (globally). The company has been really slow in rolling out its new features, thanks to the marketing spams that WhatsApp attracts.

Till then, time to gain customers. Grab market share.

What’s your take?

#RandomRead : How We Missed The WhatsApp Bus 

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