Shalom Life | March 06, 2014

WhatsApp to Offer Calling Options

Recently purchased by Facebook for $19 billion, WhatsApp is now going after the Skype market

By: Zak Edwards

Published: February 25th, 2014 in Business » World

Not one week after Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash, stocks and shares, WhatsApp has already announced its next big plan: to go after Skype. The instant messaging app is already letting people avoid international texting rates and dodge their bosses who monitor their social media activity, but now WhatsApp wants to help people connect with voice phone calls.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company announced the plans in Barcelona this week and are set to release the product for Apple and Android products before moving to Blackberry, Nokia, and Windows phones. But running counter their new owners, WhatsApp is insisting on “knowing as little as possible” about their clients.

Instead, the company wants to "get out of the way and let people communicate," according to the company’s cofounder Jan Koum. Their “minimalist,” ad-free approach is what they believe will set them apart, Koum argues. Of course, people’s phone numbers and address books could prove useful for Facebook’s income, so these privacy policies may change in the near future.

But for now, WhatsApp’s 465 million users can expect to make phone calls as early as the second quarter, and to see a serious push into mobile technology next year. This represents a push into an already busy marketplace, with Skype and Gmail already offering voice options at either free or low prices.

For his own part, Koum is adamant WhatsApp will remain separate from Facebook. “For WhatsApp to be successful, it has to stay independent,” Mr. Koum argued, so “there are no planned changes.”

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