Posted 12/20/2012 at 10:02 AM
Posted 5 years ago
WhatsApp, the cross-platform messaging client, has decided to give away its iOS app free for a limited time only.
Getting right into the Christmas spirit, the WhatsApp Twitter account revealed the news, with a tweet saying “Happy Holidays! WhatsApp for iPhone is free for a limited time. Tell your friends!” We are not yet sure how long this “limited time” is exactly, but the move will certainly help WhatsApp compete against the numerous other free messaging services that are available.
WhatsApp gives users the chance to send messages to other service users across the internet without being stung by SMS fees. It was one of the first apps to provide such a service, it is also one of the most popular with over 10 billion messages sent, although FaceBook Messenger, Kik, and Viber to name but a few are now proving to be real competition. The app is already free to download on Android with a yearly fee of $0.99 coming into play after the first 12 months of use, however, on iOS anyone looking to download the app has traditionally been required to pay $0.99 up-front.
Making the app available free is definitely a clever one on the part of WhatsApp. The iPhone 5 is one of the most in demand gifts this Christmas, and sales of older iPhones also peak at this time of year. People visiting the App Store for the first time on Christmas Day will certainly be more attracted to WhatsApp if it is available to download free.
However, what about company revenue? WhatsApp is against the use of ads, as co-founder Jan Koum said in a blog post back in June. The service is funded by app purchases, so, as noted by The Verge, giving away the app is going to cut directly into the company’s bottom line. That is obviously a chance they are willing to take in order to attract new iOS users.