Samsung has announced that it will be closing its ChatON messaging service in all regions except the US from February 1. After calling reports of ChatON's closure "false" in November, Samsung took a U-turn and told Engadget that it will shutter the messaging service.
Samsung issued a statement to Engadget, which read, "On February 1, 2015, ChatON will be discontinued in all markets except the United States, as we strive to meet evolving consumer needs by focusing on our core services. We remain committed to offering services that cater to our consumers' lifestyles and add value to their everyday lives."
The ChatON messaging app was preloaded on all Samsung Galaxy smartphones, but it appears that the service wasn't that popular after all. While Samsung had claimed in 2013 that ChatON has a subscriber base of 100 million users worldwide, it looks like many of those users didn't use the service at all. This highlights how messaging services dress up numbers to show a large subscriber base. Samsung, like many other messaging services, revealed only the subscriber base but not the number of monthly active users. A user could have used a messaging service once (and even deleted the app) but would still be counted as a subscriber.
The world's most popular messaging service is WhatsApp, which claimed to have 600 million monthly active users earlier this year. When compared to that number, ChatON's "100 million subscribers" looks puny. Engadget said Samsung blamed 'changing market conditions' for the ChatON axe, but the real reason could just be that no one was using the app.
Reports of Samsung planning to close its ChatON service first emerged in Korea, when Korea Times said Samsung officials had claimed that the company plans to close the instant messaging service "to restructure unprofitable businesses and improve profitability". An official was quoted as saying, "ChatON isn't a business that can show improvement in the future."