Whatsapp is now free of charge, for those who have been paying


Typically, when a product or service reaches the dizzy popularity heights of WhatsApp, its creators and overseers start thinking of new ways to make money. But Mark Zuckerberg is taking the literally opposite approach for the evolution of the mobile cross-platform instant messaging client, ditching subscription fees just as WhatsApp exceeded 900 million active user accounts. The app’s seemingly insignificant $0.99 yearly charge was its only direct means of income, so naturally, you must be wondering whether intrusive third-party ads are in store. Fortunately, the answer is a definite no, both as far as the immediate and more distant future are concerned.

Then again, WhatsApp is apparently cooking up a series of tools that will allow you to “communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from”, which sounds like a very small step away from the same kind of spam messages you’re treated to in your e-mail inbox day in and day out.

Back to the $1 subscription fee, we know its value is meaningless for most of you, but today’s change is about a principle first, and also about recruiting new users who don’t have or seldom operate a debit or credit card.

Finally, if you weren’t aware you had to pay for WhatsApp “service” in the first place, that’s because pledges came into effect several years after the IM app’s launch, with original adopters never charged a penny. But the million-dollar (and billion-user) question is will video calls also be completely free?

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Farooq Gessa Mousal
Techjaja: CTO