Kik to remain independent to realise ambitions

Kik to remain independent to realise ambitions

04 JUN 2014

The maker of messaging app Kik intends to remain an independent entity despite megadeals involving rivals WhatsApp and Viber in 2014.

In a blog post, Kik founder and CEO Ted Livingston said, as on previous occasions, “we believe the opportunity is just so much bigger”.

“We want to be the network that connects the world, and the platform that enables all communication, content and commerce to flow through it. Not just a chat app, but a chat network. So once again, we are choosing not to sell.”

In February, Kik added browser functionality to its platform, allowing users to “explore anything on the mobile web” without the need to leave the app – potentially increasing usage time and engagement.

The company highlighted the social possibilities this offers, including the ability to share web content with other Kik users, again without the need to access another app.

Other enhancements beyond its core messaging functionality include Kik Cards, which were introduced in later 2012 to enable users to share richer content. The technology allows apps to run on top of the messaging service via an HTML5-based platform.

Livingston told The Wall Street Journal in December 2013 that 145 million Cards had been downloaded. The company found that 83 per cent of Kik Cards are discovered when a user sends a Card to another within the app.

Kik’s desire to remain independent comes despite significant interest in messaging apps by technology players: Viber was acquired for $900 million by Japanese e-commerce player Rakuten in February, while WhatsApp agreed to be acquired by Facebook for $19 billion shortly after.

Other messaging app makers are looking to list their companies rather than go down the acquisition route, with Kakao planning to do so in October once its merger with South Korean internet portal Daum closes, and LINE reportedly looking at a similar strategy.

Kik reached the 100 million registered user mark in December last year, after adding 70 million users in the previous 12 months and reportedly adding 200,000 users daily.

In October, BlackBerry and Kik settled a patent infringement dispute, nearly three years after Kik was pulled from the device vendor’s app store. The struggling handset vendor sued Kik on the grounds that it made false and/or misleading statements that caused confusion with BBM.

Kik secured $19.5 million in venture funding in April 2013.

Author

Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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