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The Rise and Rise of Instant Messaging Apps: 5 reasons for WhatsApp's Dominance

AbdulGaniy Shehu, @shehuaba
08.25.16
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Instant Messaging: How it all began
Instant messaging (IM) predates the internet, yes! You heard that right. This report, indicates that the phrase entered common usage in the early 1990s, while the concept dates back to the mid-1960s with the Compatible Time-Sharing Systems (CTSS) created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961.
Later on, it evolved to the peer-to-peer control that allowed researchers of different Universities to communicate, then came in the era of the Bulletin Board System (BBS) which allowed users to exchange direct messages among one another. In 1997, the launch of AIM by AOL which is the turning point for the IM apps market attracted a lot of tech-savvy individuals at that time. And from then on, the IM apps have been on the rise.

The rise and rise of Instant Messaging Apps
Instant messaging apps industry have grown over the years, while this 2013 report indicates that about 1.48 billion IM apps users are in China alone. A research by Deloitte in 2014, claimed that users in the United Kingdom send at least 46 messages daily, and that by the end of the year, the UK will witness about 300 billion instant messages sent. Instant messaging apps have become so popular. Today, we have instant Messaging Apps such as: Blackberry Messenger, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Snapchat, Line, Telegram, Wechat, WhatsApp and the list is endless.

How WhatsApp is dominating the IM market
WhatsApp, is an instant messaging app founded by the duo of Brian Acton and Jan Koum in 2009. The company which was on the verge of crashing with a million users seven years ago has gone ahead to dominate the IM industry. As at February 2013, the application users have grown up to 200 million, before Facebook acquired it a year later. And earlier this year, its user base increased to 1 billion, making it the most used IM app in the world. Recently, Similar Web examined 187 countries, and found out that WhatsApp was the world leader claiming 109 countries, or 55.6% of the world, which includes Brazil, Mexico, India, Russia, and many countries in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

WhatsApp on Iphone

Reasons for WhatsApp Dominance of the IM market
No doubt that WhatsApp dominates the IM market today. Some of the reasons for its dominance of the market are as follows:
  • Availability on Platforms: WhatsApp is one of the few, if not the only IM app that's available on all platforms. It caters for users on different mobile platforms such as: IOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Symbian etc. With the application, there is no question of any buddy of yours not been on your contact list.
  • Ease of Use: Have you ever tried using some other IM apps, which requires you to fill in your username, e-mail address, ID etc. to get registered? Also, some apps require that you add your friends up manually. WhatsApp makes it easy to connect with everyone on the go with their phone numbers. It is so easy that even a Granny in remote areas can use it.
  • Security: WhatsApp is highly secured. Recently, it rolled out the end-to-end automatic encryption for all users using the signal protocol. This gives users the freedom to exchange private information with employees, clients, co-workers, friends and family safely.
  • WhatsApp Web for PC: Have you been in a situation where you can only access your desktop, and you need to complete that business engagement online? Other IM apps do not provide this feature. With WhatsApp users can access it on window desktops using the web based application. This feature is unique to WhatsApp only.
  • Popularity: It's easy to get in touch with most of your friends on WhatsApp because they are already on the platform. This distinguishes it from other IM applications, where you lack access to your friends who are not using it. There's rarely any country in the world where WhatsApp isn't popular, and this gives it an edge over other applications in the IM market.
On a Final Note:
WhatsApp has now become a brand in the global Instant Messaging Market. Most users do not even know the existence of some other apps. Many people these days even promote the app to family and friends. As the instant messaging apps rise continues, will WhatsApp continue in its dominance or other application(s) will soon gain global recognition? Only time can tell.

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