“The Messaging App Wars – Who is going to win the war?”

LINK http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/26/the-messaging-app-wars-are-just-getting-started/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

bits-message-tmagArticle

There are a number of ways to message someone without paying additional charge beyond cellphone bill: iMessages, Snapchat, Instagram Direct, Twitter direct messages, WhatsApp, Telegram, Confide, AOL Instant Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Wut, GroupMe, Line, Viber, MessageMe, Kik Messenger, Popcorn, Glide, Tango, ooVoo, Shots, Skype, Whisper, TigerText and email account.

While it might be messaging app overload for customers, the makers of these apps see an opportunity to disrupt the phone companies and become the go-to communication platform for people on their smartphones.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, obviously believes consumers are going to pick WhatsApp as their go-to messaging app. Otherwise why would he pay $19 billion for the app last week?

These big acquisitions in the past have been very beneficial to both the acquirer and the acquired. YouTube became the Internet’s main video platform after Google purchased it. And Instagram has skyrocketed in popularity after Facebook paid $1 billion for the service in 2012.

But we still don’t know which messaging apps will survive and eventually win the messaging wars.

I think the Messaging App Wars have just started and the new market entrants will further intensify the competition. But eventually, the number of the market players will be drastically narrowed down within a few years because users may feel overwhelmed and burdened by all those apps. I’ve been using 3 Messaging Apps since I was in college and in past few years I’ve switched from one app to the other but never had more than 3 Messaging Apps on my phone in my life. I think 3 is the maximum number of apps that I can probably manage without feeling stressed. I use 3 different apps to communicate with different community. For example, I use LINE mostly for communicating with my close friends and family, Facebook for communicating with my friends who live outside U.S, and Skype for having a meeting for group projects. I’m not a WhatsApp user but I’m thinking of signing up for it soon because more and more people around me are using WhatsApp and also, Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApps made WhatsApps look more valuable and attractive.

It took me almost one year to sign up for WhatsApp mainly because of the switching cost and I don’t think that I will be sign up for another Messaging App unless the App has a very unique feature and the majority of my friends are using it. I think having a distinguished feature from competitors and lowering switching cost of users are some of the important keys to win the Messaging App Wars.

My questions to everyone are the following:

(1)  What Messaging App(s) are you using on a daily basis?

(2)  Why are you using only one, or more than one Messaging App(s)?

(3)  Would you need more Messaging App(s)?

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9 thoughts on ““The Messaging App Wars – Who is going to win the war?”

  1. I think this is an interesting article and your point is very true. It takes a lot of effort to switch messaging apps, especially if your group of friends havent already done so.

    I only use my SMS message service and I don’t need anything more than that.

  2. I usually use only one or two social networking apps, for most of my friends and families are using the same platform, it is more convenient and more concentrate to use one or two messaging app on a daily basis.
    As for switching apps, it will depend on their services and popularity among people around me. Still, I suppose the switch cost will be high if current messaging apps already dominate within the market.
    Again, various choices are inversely proportional to happiness.

  3. I have actually tried to cut down on my messaging apps – mainly because I feel like I don’t need so many. On the other hand, every time I hear of a new app (of any kind, not just for messaging) there is a metaphorical siren call that leads me toward a new app. I want to be the first to have it. I do only have so many friends/users/followers per app – and if not enough people are using it, I don’t want it anymore. I had Facebook Messenger for a while but realized that I would receive the message through Facebook just the same as I would through Facebook Messenger – all it was doing was taking up space on my phone. I first heard of WhatsApp in 2012 and resisted the siren call to download it – I already had iMessage, Facebook, Skype, OoVoo, iChat, and of course, Facebook Messenger. Now, I have eliminated OoVoo (no one uses it anymore) and stick to iMessage, Facebook (but NOT Facebook Messenger), Skype, and Snapchat. Gone are the days of AIM – when I owned a BlackBerry, I held on for as long as I could to AIM and BBM. At this point, I don’t need any more messaging apps…unless, of course, I get to be the first to have it.

  4. As a technology latecomer, I use only iChat and gchat to communicate with friends. I am using only these applications because they satisfy my needs. I have an all-encompassing cell phone plan that includes text messaging and most of my friends are part of my network anyway. Gchat is simply convenient and easy to use at work. Unless my cellphone plan changes or my friends start only communicating using these new apps, I probably will not change my mode of communication. I would say that most of my communications with friends are via email, which works. I am curious to see how these companies are going to lure individuals like myself who are more resistant to change.

  5. I use the WhatsApp and Viber to communicate with family in Europe. I thought WhatsApp’s days were numbered when I discovered Viber, because it has talk in addition to text, but Facebook’s recent acquisition has turned that idea on its head. There seems to be little discernible differences between the service and features of many of these apps, so it should be the companies that do the best jobs of marketing themselves and forging strategic alliances that will win the messaging app wars.

  6. I use both Viber and What’sApp to communicate with friends and family. Depending on which app the person has I pick one or the other to communicate with them. If the person has both apps, then I prefer to communicate with Viber because it has both voice and text options, plus I find it to be a bit more user friendly. I don’t need more messaging apps to communicate with people, and since there are so many choices I can see why a consolidation of these social media platforms is happening. I also don’t think I would use another messaging app unless the app has a very unique feature or the majority of my family or friends are using it.

  7. I use SMS messaging and WhatsApp. I’ll likely evolve as the group of people that I communicate with evolves – I’ll probably go where they go.

    I am, however, a heavy user of GChat on a computer but don’t use the Google Hangouts app on my mobile devices, mostly because I hate the app’s functionality.

  8. I usually use iMessage to communicate with my friends. If they don’t have an iPhone, I used first WhatsApp, switched to Viber, but in the end I ended up with using WhatsApp again. For communicating with people in Europe, I either use Skype, Facebook or WhatsApp, and with the recent acquisition by Facebook I’m really curious what will be next. I really don’t see big differences in programs like Viber or WhatsApp, I think it’s more a marketing strategy for companies and maybe personal habits/comfort using these apps, because in the end they are all the same: messaging tools.

  9. I use Wechat everyday to communicate with my family and friends in China, but also my Chinese friends in U.S.. I have only one mobile messaging app, and I don’t need more right now. I have WhatsApp, but I never use it. When I need to communicate with my foreign friend, I just iMessage them or email. If I get more foreign friends, I will use WhatsApp more. I use Wechat mostly because all my Chinese friends are using it. It becomes the main way we use to communicate with each other.

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