back to article WhatsApp irons a shirt, dons a suit, prepares business services

WhatsApp thinks the time is right for a service that will formally connect its billion daily users to businesses. The company says that plenty of businesses use the service to interact with customers, but that it doesn't verify businesses accounts or let such users work with anything other than a single smartphone to handle …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Enterprise class

    I hope they have learnt from Enterprise Software experts Microsoft.

    There should be whatsapp and whatsapp for business you can't call members from one on the other, you don't release both on all platforms and you can't have both installed on the same machine

    Neither should play nicely with any of your other enterprise CRM, email or network products formt he same maker

    It should also plunder your private contacts and splash them all over your "for business" version and the business version should display slightly NSFW ads during conference calls

    1. Diogenes

      Re: Enterprise class

      If it did all that I might actually be tempted to install it ;-)

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Enterprise class

      Don't forget dumping random messages into an email folder, because that's really useful.

  2. Syd

    This is potentially interesting, even at cost - a lot of businesses spend a fair bit of money on SMS notifications ("Your appointment is at...", "Your delivery is scheduled for...", "Thank you for your payment of...") - so it only has to be cheaper than SMS to get businesses very interested.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      German rail operator Deutsche Bahn already does but bulk SMS isn't that expensive anyway. The enterprise market is more about group communications: Skype, Slacker, etc.

    2. Lee D

      You think WhatsApp For Business is going to work out cheaper than 3.5p per message?

      If people cared about the cost, they'd just use email notifications anyway.

    3. iron Silver badge

      @Syd

      Slight problem with your wonderful idea... not everyone uses crap like WhatsApp. Everyone with a mobile is able to receive SMS messages and in some cases landlines can receive them too. Much like all the moronic organisations that now use Twitter for support & status messages despite having their own website, companies using WhatsApp to notify customers will be reducing their customer base for no reason.

  3. 0laf
    Facepalm

    Nooooo

    Oh fuck no. That's all I need yet another exec coming in demanding his fucking app of choice be the one everyone uses along with every other execs fucking app of the day.

    Then we'll suck down IT resources for 2 months to trial it before finding out that exec has moved onto something else or fucking retired.

    [Sound of well bruised head smacking desk again and again and again]

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Support for two numbers (dual SIM, home and business)

    If WhatsApp did that, they could say "job done" and retire.

  5. phuzz Silver badge
    Joke

    I've got a great idea for Whatsapp to make money, they could charge customers an annual fee, say less than a quid a year. Oh, and make the first year free to draw people in.

    (The subscription fee was one of the reasons I didn't mind using Whatsapp, if I'm paying money I'm a customer, not necessarily a product, but noooo, I'm just a generator of data to be monetised apparently)

  6. ratfox
    Paris Hilton

    What are the requirements for a messaging app?

    Writing a messaging app is easy, they're dime-a-dozen. Popularity is recursively the best predictor of success. App makers generally copy me-too features while trying to differentiate themselves any way they can. But what are really the features that would push you to use one rather than the other for your business? Apart from reliability?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: What are the requirements for a messaging app?

      Desktop client, syncronisation between clients, chat history. Not sure how well all that sits with WhatsApp's encryption.

      But it's all academic anyway, I don't make that choice, I've been given Lync which is the clunkiest piece of software I've ever had the misfortune to use.

      1. Alistair
        Windows

        Re: What are the requirements for a messaging app?

        @ Dan 55 -- for what it's worth, pidgin and several other chat apps have the Sipe plugin with which one can at least *chat* with the lync users without polluting your desktop with that mess called S4B/Lync/Outlook messaging.

        I have to yell at the folks on the other side of the planet that keep trying to share their desktops with me (since lync can do that), they insist I try. Their offices are typically on 10Mb or so links and have 100 to 250 people working in them. They simply do not understand.

    2. cambsukguy

      Re: What are the requirements for a messaging app?

      Well, WhatsApp has a Desktop client that means I no longer have to use the Web page, which mean I don't have to worry about the web page always being open - the app starts with Windows and is always there, yay!

      Just a few issues though:

      1. Your 'phone *has* to be on for messages to appear, not terrible but not great.

      2. Messages ping the phone and the PC.

      3. It doesn't support SMS messages, so you need to both look at your phone and work out the message history on your head where mixing has occurred.

      And before you ask why someone would use a messaging service and text messages to the same person, perhaps switching during a chat, well it happens all the time based on coverage and whim.

      Skype may be despised by some but it offers merging of messages and SMS, on the PC and the 'phone, tying the person concerned into one 'Contact'. It transfers the messages to all targets and notifies on all targets but, crucially, once one starts chatting on one of them, the others stay quiet unless a period of time has passed without messages.

      So, get a text? See it on your PC and answer it right there, super useful, without any extra App on either device.

      Well, that's what happens on my 'phone/PC anyway.

      I have WhatsApp because mobile-orientated people swear by it, which is fine, I don't have to use it much at all these days and the phone App I use has no ads or serious horribleness.

      1. David Roberts
        Thumb Up

        Re: What are the requirements for a messaging app?

        Upvote for pointing me to the desktop app.

        Looked for one a while back and missed the launch of this.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why the hell would anyone want this?

    Businesses can already receive messages via Facebook and Twitter, as well as old standbys like email, phone calls and snail mail. How many methods of communication do they need, or should they be expected to support?

    I don't see the point of trying to tie businesses to another me-too messaging platform, especially when Facebook ALREADY has this in place. First Apple announces "Business Chat" earlier this summer, though given that you can't install iMessage on Android phones or Windows PCs it seems that only Apple-related businesses would have incentive to adopt it. Now this.

    Next we'll see the same from Google for their messenger (as a beta, which they'll drop two years from now) and then Samsung will decide it has to introduce a messenger of its own and connect it to businesses, because they always have to clone everything Google does and put an 'S' in front of it.

  8. IPS

    If you're regulated by the FCA then WhatsApp is forbidden

    As it can't be archived or supervised.

    Unless the Enterprise version has a proxy somewhere to facilitate the Compliance dept....

    Same for LinkedIn, Facebook and webmail come to that. All should be blocked unless they can be archived & supervised.

    James

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