The ripples from Facebook’s $19BN purchase of messaging app WhatsApp continue to rock the app space, pushing more and more developers to build comms tools with a twist in the hopes of harvesting even a fraction of the traction and engagement that veteran player enjoyed. (Ultimately the size of the WhatsApp exit is the massive carrot here — while Viber’s recent sale to Rakuten for $900M provides another lucrative example to concentrate developers’ minds.)
But newbies are just the small fry. Japan’s Line, which launched its messaging play in 2011 in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that crippled the country’s phone service, is already a substantial messaging player (and a company in its own right, having been spun out of its parent company, NHN Japan Corp) — another would-be WhatsApp in the making.
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