Tuesday, February 25, 2014

WhatsApp-Facebook Post-Acquisition Scenario: Is Telegram the next big thing in mobile messaging app?

WhatsApp, the leading messaging app with more than 465 million active users, is trying to justify its multi billion dollars acquisition by the social-media giant Facebook and promises to add free voice-call services by the start of second quarter this year.

Telegram emerging as WhatsApp's biggest competitor

“We are going to introduce voice on WhatsApp in the second quarter of this year,” WhatsApp founder Jan Koum said on the opening day of the four-day World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The 29-year-old billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, was the star speaker on the opening day of the industry fair, announced a stock and cash purchase of WhatsApp on Wednesday.

But very few know right now that the other competitors of the WhatsApp have been witnessing a sizeable increase of active users since the jaw-dropping $19-billion deal last week. Other competing messaging apps like Telegram, TigerText and Confide have been reported to have millions of new users during the WhatsApp downtime.

Telegram, a messaging app with a focus on speed and security, alone saw 8 million downloads after Facebook tookover WhatsApp, reported by Tech Crunch. The fact ultimately pointing towards the unsatisfactory attitude of users towards Facebook’s own mobile messaging apps, which are specifically ranked lower than Telegram, WhatsApp and even Snapchat in the App Store’s score chart.

Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram, has claimed that app’s growth rate has increased three times since the WhatsApp acquisition. It has gone to touch one million downloads per day from average of 300,000-400,000 downloads/day before the multi-billion dollars deal.

Now question is that in the wake of tough competition ahead whether WhatsApp will prove itself a profitable deal for Facebook or this deal was just to defeat rivals like Microsoft and Google.
On Monday, the star speaker of the event Mark Zuckerberg defended the price paid for a messaging service with negligible revenue. He maintained that rival services such as South Korea's KakaoTalk and Naver's LINE are already "monetizing" at a rate of $2 to $3 in revenue per user per year, despite being in the early stages of growth.

On the other hand, WhatsApp chief executive Jan Koum revealed the plans saying that the WhatsApp voice product would "focus on simplicity" as it has with its text-based messaging service. Tech gurus are expecting WhatsApp revenue jumping 5 times in 2014 if succeeded to maintain the growth rate they saw in 2013. Media reports suggest WhatsApp's revenue at about $20 million in 2013. 

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