WhatsApp recently clocked 1 Billion active users globally, which is a huge deal for any messaging service out there right now, considering the fierce competition from Hike, WeChat and Telegram.
In a blog post on 26th February 2016, WhatsApp confirmed that they will be ending support to some old operating systems, as well as some decently prominently ones, by the end of 2016. The ones to get the axe will be BlackBerry OS, including BlackBerry 10, Nokia Symbian S40 and Symbian S60, Android 2.1 & 2.2 and Windows Phone 7.1.
WhatsApp has itself admitted that at the time of their release in 2009, most of the phones operated on BlackBerry OS or Symbian(Nokia), taking about 70% market share. Apple App Store was in a very nascent stage then, and Android was not very popular, both accounting to about 25% sales.
The statistics have now completely reversed, with 99.5% sales coming from the giants, Google, Apple and Microsoft. It seems fair enough that WhatsApp will be ending support to those that do not contribute much to their sales and growth, but what about the existing customers? There are plenty BlackBerry users in this corporate world that will surely get disheartened.
An extract from the blog about the withdrawal of support to these OS’ read, “While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future.”
Was it really needed?
I completely understand that BlackBerry and Nokia users are very much less in volumes as compared to other operating systems, but WhatsApp is a very simple tool that does not need much memory on a phone. Even if WhatsApp decides to streamline its processes and focus on important things, they could have left the versions on these OS’ as it is.
In any case, it is an indirect method from WhatsApp to make people shift to other OS like iOS, Android and Windows Phone. I could see Apple, Google and Microsoft taking advantage of this in the near future through aggressive advertisements.
Any BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Phone 7.1 users out there wondering what smartphone to upgrade to? Look at our post on budget smartphones, just in case you don’t want to spend a lot.