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WhatsApp outage results in field day for its rivals

Both Line and Telegram report massive increase in new sign ups after WhatsApp experienced an outage.


Most people don’t usually bat an eyelid when there are billion dollar acquisitions in the technology industry, but since last week, one particular acquisition has got everyone talking. I’m talking about Facebook buying WhatsApp, that too for a staggering $19 billion. Shortly after that, WhatsApp was down for almost 210 minutes.

While CEO Jan Koum did apologize for the service outage, the damage was already done, at least to the service’s reputation. On the other hand, its rivals had a field day. Line, which is particularly popular in Japan as well as Taiwan, has officially revealed that more than two million new users signed up in one day after WhatsApp experienced its outage. Line Euro-Americas CEO Jeanie Han wasted no time in delivering a tongue in cheek knock to WhatsApp, saying in a statement that Line provides a “safe, secure platform that will always work when our users need it the most,” even adding that it also provides a “strong network that can handle unplanned and unexpected increases in network traffic.” Two million new users is five times Line’s normal rate of new signups from crucial regions such as South and North America, as well as Europe.

Berlin based Telegram is a new comer in this market, but it too reported a surge in new sign ups after WhatsApp crashed. More than five million new users signed up for Telegram, which touts privacy as its most pivotal aspect, in under 24 hours following the crash. While Line was able to cope up with its surge, this unexpected increase resulted in Telegram facing server problems of its own. This app differs to WhatsApp in a way that it lets users send time barred messages and photos, much like Snapchat, it also employs end-to-end encryption and proudly offers $200,000 in Bitcoin to the first hacker capable of breaking its encryption by March 1.

There has been much debate already about the actual value of WhatsApp as opposed to the $19 billion Facebook has graciously doled out for it. Yes, granted that it has unprecedented penetration in North America and Europe, but its rivals who dominate the fast growing chat markets in Asia, are faster than ever to pounce on any opportunity that results from a slip up Koum’s service makes.

Adrian Fonseca
Adrian Fonseca keeps a close eye on all Apple news, rumors, leaks and developments. In his spare time, he likes to read books.

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