It has been more or less a month since WhatsApp announced that it is dropping the $0.99 annual subscription fee it used to charge users using the instant messaging app. However, it also promised users it will not start serving ads as a means to raise revenue for the WhatsApp services.
Faithful to its words, the subscription fee was scrapped off, and so far, there have been no reported of ads being served on WhatsApp. The company said it will raise money from its enterprise users by giving them business tools that assist their operations.
Its first offering to the business community is a ‘Slack-like feature’ that allows users to share documents. This feature appeared with the March 2nd update.
Going forward, users can share documents from iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive and Drive with one another; however, they are only enabled to share just PDF files. Other document formats apart from PDF are currently not supported, but perhaps it will be a future development.
Now, if you think about it, sharing PDF files is something that often happens in the corporate community. This feature looks like one of the said Enterprise solutions from which WhatsApp wants to generate its revenue, following the drop of the subscription fee by the users.
Slack gives enterprises such solutions including the ability to chat in real-time, make video and phone calls. WhatsApp now also offers more or less these kinds of services. WhatsApp is also said to be gearing up to launch other enterprise tools to be used both internally and externally in business.
Given Slack has made its name in the business of offering enterprise users tools to manage their businesses. The entry of WhatsApp into the enterprise tools businesses is somewhat unsettling for Slack.
WhatsApp is strategically positioning itself around the fact that the mobile phones are increasingly becoming the go-to devices for both personal and business activities. They are no longer just personal devices; they have become enterprise devices especially with the growing trend of Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) to work.
However, with mobile phones, comes greater security risks. Especially, since most users don’t take much security cautions on their mobile devices as they do on their desktop computers. Mobile phones are increasingly storing sensitive information and accomplishing more sensitive tasks that were initially being done on the desktop computers.
For security reasons, WhatsApp has decided to pull out of mobile operating systems that are perilous. Thus, going forward, WhatsApp will no longer be supporting mobile devices running on the following platforms:
BlackBerry, including BlackBerry 10
Android 2.1 to Android 2.2
Windows Phone 7.1
Nokia Symbian S60
WhatsApp says mobile devices running on the platforms named above do not meet the threshold needed to expand to the new WhatsApp features focusing on providing enterprise solutions. That makes sense especially when you are expecting features like peer-to-peer payments, IoT features and business collaboration tools to run on WhatsApp on mobile devices.