WhatsApp Bringing Subscription Service Fees to iOS Users This Year, No Desktop App
Users of Apple’s iOS platform who are utilizing popular instant messaging application WhatsApp could be looking at subscription fees headed there way this year if reports prove true (unlike a previous report of WhatsApp turning to gaming which so far has turned out to be false).
According to the reports obtained via TechCrunch, WhatsApp will be rolling out the same annual subscription fee (to compensate for its ad-free service) that we’ve seen on other platforms. These reports come from WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum.
Also according to Koum, the new subscription fees would apply to new users, who would be able to enjoy the WhatsApp service free for the first year before being charged $1 per year after that. Currently, iOS users pay a one-time fee of $0.99 to use the service on their devices.
Koum hasn’t identified an exact date on when the subscriptions would begin, nor did he clarify much on why WhatsApp decided to change its pricing model, although a likely cause could be increased competition with the likes of LINE, Kik Messenger, and KakaoTalk, along with a number of other apps, most of which have exceeded 100 million users total with the exception of KakaoTalk, who had 57 million registered users as of August 2012, and is likely coming close to the 100 million mark.
Both Line and KakaoTalk can be downloaded for free and rely on things such as games, items, stickers, and other content to make revenue. While it’s possible that WhatsApp may decide to adapt a similar structure in the future, it’s not likely to happen this year.
For those waiting on a desktop version of WhatsApp to be used with Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac devices, Koum revealed that, unfortunately, a desktop version is not in the pipeline:
“We get that question asked a lot. We feel strongly that the world is moving to mobile and … we want to be mobile-only. Your phone is with you all the time, and desktop is to many becoming a secondary experience. … our answer is no, not anytime soon.”
Live streaming video is also not in the cards, nor is an acquisition at this time by another company such as Facebook, which was rumored some time ago to be in the works. Koum also mentioned some deals with carriers in the works, as well as an existing deal with Three in Hong Kong that allows Three users to access the app for about $6 per day.
As WhatsApp continues to face a heavy and increasing amount of competition, we’ll undoubtedly see a number of changes coming from its attempts to remain at the top of its market. Luckily for users, most of these changes mean a lot of good things are coming our way.