Everyone was shocked when Facebook struck the $19 billion deal with WhatsApp. Most of you also probably let out a few laughs (amidst frustration) when WhatsApp started experiencing major service problems a few days later – I know I did. But let’s face it, this acquisition led to many changes in the world of messaging apps: The WhatsApp Effect.
For starters, Telegram reported millions of new signups since the WhatsApp acquisition. Much of it traced back to the big outrage, and a lot of it was also due to the fact that Telegram puts a lot of emphasis on privacy, security, and speed. Now I’m sure you’ve noticed many have expressed concern over Facebook ruining WhatsApp. It made sense to switch to another service while still ahead. Other services that experienced a bump in signups include the recently acquired Viber, Tango, and WeChat, which reigns in China (where Facebook is banned.)
Remember how BlackBerry CEO, John Chen announced his interest in selling BBM at MWC? That offer is still on the table. He was quoted saying, “If someone comes to me with $19 billion, I would definitely sell it.” Wouldn’t we all? To get back to the point, Blackberry launched Kik back in 2009. Kik grew to offer a built-in browser in addition to free messaging. Guess how many users Kik has now? 100 million. Guess how many users BBM has? 85 million. WhatsApp towers (err towered?) over both with an active user base of 465 million. Regardless, it could still happen. Just maybe not for an astronomical amount.
On that note, there has been a lot of talk over who might be next to follow the steps of Viber and WhatsApp. I have a feeling it might be Line. Line is a popular messaging app with 360 million users worldwide (mostly in East Asia.) It’s based in Japan, and owned by the Naver Corporation in South Korea. Japan’s SoftBank let their interest in purchasing Line be known, and you can’t blame them. Line’s revenues last year totaled to $335 million. BNP Paribas estimated that Line could be worth as much as $14.9 billion. I guess we should just wait and see.
Check out the vid below for more on Line. You’ll also hear more about the impact of mobile messaging on the mobile industry.