With an average 12 billion outbound messages, and 8 billion inbound messages a day, translating to double Facebook’s daily message traffic, WhatsApp has certainly joined the big leagues.
Speaking at AllThingsD’s mobile conference on Tuesday in New York, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum said that the mobile messaging service topped Twitter’s usage of over 200 million monthly users.
WhatsApp an application viewed to be more of an internet-based threat to text messaging than as a competitior to social network, provides SMS and texting services on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and other platforms.
Koum said WhatsApp, based in Silicon Valley, will not follow Facebook and Twitter in carrying advertising, however. The app charges an annual subscription fee of $0.99 on Android and other smartphone operating systems.
“We’re so bombarded with ads so much in our daily lives and we felt that smartphones aren’t the place for that. Our phones are so intimately connected to us, to our lives.
“Putting advertising on a device like that is a bad idea. You don’t want to be interrupted by ads when you’re chatting with your loved ones.
Apart from the 99 cents annual subscription fee, the company also charges a a one-off download fee of 69 pence for its iOS app. In previous interviews Koum has indicated iPhone users will be migrated this year to the same annual subscription scheme as Android users, however. He said the subscription charges had not affected the popularity of WhatsApp.
Koum also addressed the rumors that WhatsApp would be acquired, reiterating that the company wants to remain independent and doesn’t really think about acquisition as an exit strategy.
“Our goal is to build a sustainable, independent company,” he said. “We want to build a business.”
He was responding to rumors that the company was in talks to be acquired by Google for US$1 billion.