WhatsApp CEO: We're handling 20B messages per day
NEW YORK--WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum said users of its messaging app across all mobile platforms now transmit roughly 20 billion messages daily (including 8 billion inbound and 12 billion outbound).
That figure is up from the 17 billion messages per day (7 billion inbound and 10 billion outbound) WhatsApp had previously disclosed. Koum said the company is "bigger than Twitter" and has more than 200 million active users each month. The WhatsApp Messenger application enables users to share text messages, voice notes and photos with contacts across the globe, without international messaging fees.
Speaking here at AllThingsD's D: Dive Into Mobile conference, Koum noted that all of WhatsApp's growth has been organic and that it does not sell advertising. "We do have a kind of manifesto on our advertising philosophy," he said. "We're really proud of that, and we want to be different, and we don't want advertising."
Instead of advertising, WhatsApp bills Android, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone users 99 cents per year after a one-year free trial period. The firm has traditionally offered its Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone app for a one-time download fee of 99 cents, but CEO Jan Koum said last month that WhatsApp will shift its iOS business to the recurring subscription model later this year, adding the pricing change will apply solely to new iOS users.
Koum said that WhatsApp's monetization model is still in its early stages, but he said that avoiding advertising is important to the company. "We want to build a business," he said "We want to show the world you can build a business that's not built on advertising. When advertising is involved the user is a product. "WhatsApp is one of many over-the-top messaging services like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) Messenger, WeChat and Viber that are changing carrier business models around the world. "Text messaging is great. It's very common," Koum said. "The problem with text messaging is that it's a very old technology. The way we have communicated has evolved over the last 10, 20 years."
Koum said "the carrier relationship has evolved for us," and that carriers are embracing WhatsApp because the app has helped carriers get customers to sign up for data plans. He also noted that WhatsApp has signed deals with carriers for WhatsApp-specific data plans with operators like Reliance in India and Mobily in Saudi Arabia. He also noted that with Hutchison Whampoa's 3 in Hong King, WhatsApp has a plan that lets customers use the service internationally without incurring roaming charges if they pay a flat fee of around $5.
WhatsApp recently refuted reports it is in talks to sell its over-the-top messaging platform to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Late last year, WhatsApp also denied reports it had entered talks to sell its platform to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). AllThingsD maintains that both Google and Facebook have explored buying WhatsApp in the past.
"We actually don't think about it," Koum said of potential acquisitions or a price at which the company would sell itself. "We would rather spend our time thinking about how to make the product better, how to make something better in our servers, than thinking about these hypotheticals."
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