Will Facebook Kill WhatsApp?


While pundits are busy debating and banging heads over the reasons that led to the insanely high priced startup deal of it’s time, lets focus on the one of the possible results. While speculations are a little rife that the fearful apocalypse won’t happen, that Facebook will kill the hugely popular mobile messaging app, there still remains a possibility even though it is slightest.

This acquisition is strictly business (and market dominance or they just didn’t want anyone to do so) and Facebook has every intention to make money out of it.

There is a noticeable trend in the way mobile app monetization works, which shows a growing trend in favour of advertising and in-app purchases while there is a steady decrease in the sales made with paid apps.



Why it Can’t Go Paid or The Advertisement Way?

Now, WhatsApp is popular for three reasons. A free, ad-free app that works really well.

While the last part still remains with WhatsApp, the other two is something to think about. The chances of it going paid-only are feeble as that might instantly kill the surging growth of the user base, something Facebook will never risk.

Now the most talked about part of this acquisition… whether Facebook will introduce ads or remain  Ad-Free ?

From post acquisition statements it is apparent that Facebook is definitely not going the Instagram way to introduce ads in it. In a statement, Mark states, “I don’t personally think ads are the right way to monetize messaging.”

Koum is maintaining their previous commitment announced, “You can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication.”. With that in mind the obvious question is how exactly are they planning to make money out of this acquisition?

Most thoughts incline towards a more focused and steeper growth curve for WhatsApp with more financial backing which Facebook can provide. Facebook and WhatsApp both seems to be in a doubt (or secretive) about their future plans. While for the coming year or next, there will not be any effort towards monetization. As Mark puts it, ”Once we get to being a service with 1 billion, 2 billion, 3 billion people, there are many clear ways that we can monetize.” And that won’t be in form of ads.

So Will They?

Now if we rule out everything, what we are left with a re-emergence of Facebook Messenger (like the uncanny resemblance of Facebook camera with Instagram). “Since WhatsApp and Messenger serve such different and important uses, we will continue investing in both and making them each great products for everyone,” is what Zuckerberg had to say about it.

WhatsApp can also be considered as a fresh stream of young people, which if stats were to be believed, Facebook currently don’t thrill anymore. So whether Facebook kills WhatsApp or not still remains a far fetched thought, but you still can’t be sure. Can you?

  1. Sachin says

    I don’t care how they get their money back only thing I want is they add Facebook messenger type smiles in the whats app

  2. Mohul says

    Interesting observation, Soumen. You have asked some really difficult questions and let the users guess the answers :) So, if we remove the doubt that WhatsApp wont be killed, and be assured that WhatsApp wont have direct advertisement.. what we are left with is virtually nothing. Premium version and in-app purchase remains the most viable options, but last year, WhatsApp earned just $200 odd million using these methods (95% revenues coming from iPhones alone!) That is why, I had mentioned in my post something about contextual advertisement, something which Gmail does while snooping on our conversations.. and the rest, well.. I suppose even Marck Zuckerberg doesnt know.. I hope whatever it is, WhatsApp dedicated users are not affected by this! Loved reading this.. :)

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Since yesterday after hearing, reading and analyzing everything – here is my personal view in one line.

      Facebook bought WhatsApp to Kill competition – It was question of (future) survival, and they saw WhatsApp becoming a stronger opponent in future they could not defeat…period.

      So, when it comes to survival, you dont give much thought to anything else…

      1. Mohul says

        Classic! It puts to rest everything speculation.. :)

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