Last week, WhatsApp turned seven years old. Facebook acquired it for $19 billion two years ago.
Late on Friday, the company announced that by the end of the year it will end support for WhatsApp Messenger on several mobile platforms. These include: BlackBerry (including BlackBerry 10), Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.1, Android 2.2, and Windows Phone 7.1.
“When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people’s use of mobile devices looked very different from today,” the company said in a blog post. “The Apple App Store was only a few months old. About 70 percent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia. Mobile operating systems offered by Google, Apple and Microsoft – which account for 99.5 percent of sales today – were on less than 25 percent of mobile devices sold at the time.”
“While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future,” it said. “This was a tough decision for us to make, but the right one in order to give people better ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones using WhatsApp. If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone before the end of 2016 to continue using WhatsApp.”
Earlier this month, WhatsApp announced that it passed the billion active users milestone (the same time as Gmail coincidentally).
Last month, WhatsApp announced that it would no longer charge users for any of its services. Most people weren’t using paid options anyway, but they’ve done away with charges while still not introducing ads.
The company did say that starting this year, it will test tools that allow users to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations, not unlike the path Facebook Messenger is on.
Businesses, stay tuned for opportunities there.
Image via Whatsapp