Samsung will discontinue its Over-The-Top (OTT) messenger service ChatOn from the 1st of February 2015 worldwide, reported Yonhap News Korea. However, the service which was earlier tauted as WhatsApp's rival in the OTT messaging segment will still be available after the date in the US due to "existing contractual obligations with US mobile carriers" as reported by CNET news. Samsung however, assured that its existing users will be able to store their chat records, photos and videos shared through the messenger before the suspension.
Although ChatOn had attracted more than 100 million users since its 2011 launch, partly due to it being pre-loaded on all Samsung smartphones, it could not sustain the popularity among its users in comparison to rival messaging apps suah as WeChat, Line, and WhatsApp. A recent survey showed that users spent only six seconds per month on ChatOn, as opposed to 11 hours on Facebook and over an hour on Instagram.
This development poses the question of whether other similar mobile OS-based messenger services such as Apple iMessage and Blackberry BBM will be able to withstand the competition in the OTT messaging space, with cross-platform OTT messaging applications clearly having an advantage in an environment that is seeing more mobile OS entering the marketplace.