Following WhatsApp’s latest decision, iPhone users will join Android users in paying the $0.99 annual subscription fee.
The fee which was introduced a few months ago by the popular messaging app had been applicable to Android and other platforms but had not made its way to iOS until now.
The company has changed the has changed its iPhone app from a paid to a free download, while introducing the $0.99 annual subscription that it already charges on Android and other devices.
“We are updating our business model for new iPhone users going forward. As you know, we used to charge iPhone users a $.99 one-time payment, while Android and other platforms had free service for the first year and paid $0.99 a year after that,” explained WhatsApp in a blog post.
“From now on, we’ve simplified our business model so that all users on all platforms will enjoy their first year of WhatsApp service for free, and only pay $.99 per year after that.”
Existing users of WhatsApp on iPhone won’t have to pay the annual subscription, however: “WhatsApp will be free of charge for the rest of your life,” promises the company, which also sets out grand ambitions for its life as a fully-freemium product.
whatsApp launched in July 2009, and three years later is processing more than 8bn inbound and 12bn outbound messages. The app also boasts of more than 250m active users, making it bigger than Twitter.
New features are also being added with every new update to WhatsApp’s app. Besides changing from paid to freemium, the latest version of the iPhone app includes support for Apple’s iCloud to store backups of people’s conversation history.
The company has also launched “developer hooks” to make it easier for other applications to connect to WhatsApp on iPhone.