January 14, 2014 00:00
By Asina Pornwasin
Viber's plan for this year is to focus on user experience instead of business objectives such as revenue and profits.
The company only began generating revenue last month via sticker sales and Viber Out, which allows users to call non-Viber numbers for a fee, Talmon Marco, Viber’s chief executive officer said.
“Our focus in 2014 will continue to be on improving user experience. Allowing users to better connect with their friends and family. As a product-driven company, we still have a few more platforms to support, so we will be looking at that as well,” Marco said.
Viber’s growth has been and will continue to be viral, that is users recommending Viber to their friends. Marco said that there are many ways to count users, and if it is to count them in the way some other companies in cyber space have done, then Viber has around 340 million users worldwide.
“Our tag line, ‘Connect. Freely’ is what we are all about. We try to do things ‘right’. We do not feel a messaging app requires a pile of features,” Marco explained.
Viber’s business performance in 2013 was great, he said, adding that it grew by several hundred per cent in every parameter, including messages, active users, calls and stickers.
The company has introduced many new features including stickers, video calls, Live Push to Talk, last online, seen indication, sticker market, Viber Out, Doodles and Backgrounds. It also introduced features for several platforms including Windows, Mac, Linux and Android tablets and the app is now being completely redesigned for Android phones, to be followed by iOS.
“Another thing we care about more than others is security and privacy. The Saudi government wants apps like Viber, Whatsapp and Skype to allow them to eavesdrop on conversations and threatened to ban companies that did not agree. Viber was the only one to get banned, as we disagreed with this demand. I think our users, everywhere, whether in Saudi Arabia or in Thailand should appreciate the fact that the Saudi government is not tapping into their conversations. If you are using any other app, you should be very careful about what you say, what you text and what photos you send, no matter whether you are in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere,” Marco said.