We have all read by now about the impending WhatsApp acquisition for $16 or $19 Billion, whatever the final number. We clearly know what Facebook wants – those millions of WhatsApp users that are absolutely glued to their smartphones messaging with their friends and family.
So, what is it about WhatsApp that made it so popular? Was it superior technology?
WhatsApp was a very simple technology that was ubiquitous across all platforms. It is simple to use, easy to find and connect with people. There were other apps similar to WhatsApp.
I think it has a singular focus on cross platform compatibility, simplicity and ease of use. It is unpolluted in what it was set out to do.
Early adopters wanted to get away from the baggage of ‘big’ platforms – Google, Facebook, and others. These early users liked the app so much that they started spreading the word and promoting it. They started inviting their friends.
This very peer subtle ‘pressure’ got friends of friends to install the app. I know, my entire family and close friends overcame their initial reluctance and now everyone’s on it, talking, chatting, worldwide.
Now, with Facebook’s acquisition, I fear usage will start dwindling over time if users see covert interference in how the app works or Facebook starts compromising on the very foundation of WhatsApp.