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)?