It's official – nearly one in seven people across the globe use WhatsApp. That translates to 1 billion users in total and a long-lasting popularity. The problem? It's still not making money.
Facebook and WhatsApp announced their big milestone via a blog post, saying that the messaging app's "mission has never changed." The pair notes that it'll remain as a way to get in touch with friends and family anywhere without "costs or gimmicks."
Going over their history, Facebook acquired WhatsApp back in 2014 for a whopping $19 billion, which amounted to $22 billion because of the former's stock price at the time. Before that, the messaging app had about 450 million active monthly users and a $10.8 million revenue thanks to the $0.99 annual fee.
However, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum announced at the DLD conference that the said fee will be removed, saying that the "approach hasn't worked well." With that said, the messaging app is going to remain ad-free.
Of course, the company isn't going to let its finances go down the tubes. It's planning on turning it into a communication tool geared toward businesses, allowing corporations and retailers to talk with consumers and vice versa more efficiently.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also posted the news on Facebook, suggesting the direction that WhatsApp is headed to.
"[W]e're going to work to connect more people around the world and make it easier to communicate with businesses," he says.
This is only the beginning, as the companies are still out to push the messaging app forward and keep it at the top for a long time.
"We're excited to see how far we've come. But now, it's back to work – because we still have another 6 billion people to get on WhatsApp, and a long way left to go," WhatsApp says.
This goes without saying, but they'll have to maintain the messaging app's strong position on the global market if they want to carry out their ambitions.
On an interesting note, WhatsApp is arguably the second most popular app in the world now, surpassing Facebook Messenger's 800 million monthly users.