Is WhatsApp Slowly Getting Enterprise-Ready?

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 12, 2016


After having over a billion users on mobile, WhatsApp has launched a desktop app for both Mac and Windows, as it gradually shifts to business operations similar to Messenger. There are also rumours that suggest Facebook may be positioning WhatsApp to compete directly with Skype with an upcoming video calling service.

On the company blog, Whatsapp announced the new desktop app, which it said, would allow people to stay in touch anytime and anywhere – be it from the phone or the home computer or even the work PC. “Like Whatsapp Web, our desktop app is simply an extension of your phone: the app mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device,” the blog post says.

The new app is available for Windows 8+ and Mac OS 10.9 and above. It is also synced with Whatsapp on the user’s mobile device. Because the app runs natively on the desktop, you’ll have support of native desktop notifications, better keyboard shortcuts and much more, the blog says.

Earlier this year, the company talked about its plans to test new business tools and also announced removal of its yearly subscription cost and the introduction of VoIP calls. “The next step for the company is to start growing its revenues,” Co-founder Jan Koum mentioned at a recent event.

While WhatsApp is currently a rage on mobiles, its services on desktop remain fragmented. Even though it has a web version, the app required users to have their smartphones turned on. The desktop app not only let users view messages via desktop browser, but also has voice calling services to facilitate better communication.

Further with the rumours of a video calling service on the cards, WhatsApp’s may take on Skype, which has a desktop client, and is the primary source of communication for many businesses across the globe for several years now. And needless to say, the IM battle may also intensify between Facebook and Microsoft as the desktop client would bring WhatsApp at par with business clients.

Despite the excitement, the path to monetization still looks unclear. While the social media giant has a detailed strategy to monetize on Messenger for peer-to-peer communication for customer service and sales between users and third-party brands, it doesn’t seem to have any such plans for WhatsApp. Industry experts and investors have been asking this question since the $19 billion acquisition in late 2014.

WhatsApp also recently dropped the $1 annual subscription to start giving businesses special accounts to conduct their operations with consumers via the messaging service. The company also recently implemented end-to-end encryption to protect user confidentiality. It can therefore be said that WhatsApp is sowly getting enterprise-ready but only time and a well thought out strategy will decide its fate in the enterprise.