Almost two weeks ago, the popular WhatsApp app vanished from the Windows Phone Store without a trace. Over a week later there was no news about just when the app might reappear although there have been various promises that Microsoft and WhatsApp having ben working together to get things back in order -- Joe Belfiore even took to Twitter to try to reassure users.
Despite these assurances, the app is still nowhere to be found in the Windows Phone Store -- "technical issues" have been cited. The whole saga has left people asking "What's up with WhatsApp?"
Head over to the Microsoft Communities, as well as every WhatsApp post on our site, and there are comments from lots of upset WhatsApp users who are pointing the finger of blame firmly in Microsoft's direction. But the fault does not lie with Microsoft -- if "fault" is indeed the right word to use.
As one of the community moderators points out, "Microsoft has no control over WhatsApp." Just as with the Apple Store and Google Play, "Microsoft does not dictate to its developers when apps should be up or how they are made. WhatsApp is in control of its own destiny. To blame Microsoft for letting them take down their own app is madness."
Blaming Microsoft or the Windows Phone platform is just madness.
But this will do very little to calm down the legions of frustrated users. It is certainly true that communicating information about what has been going on could have been better handled -- much of the frustration being voiced seems to stem from the fact that neither Microsoft nor WhatsApp have been willing to suggest any sort of timeframe for getting the problems sorted out.
We reached out to WhatsApp to ask when users might be able to get hold of the app again and we were provided with the following statement:
Unfortunately due to technical issues, we have chosen to unpublish temporarily WhatsApp Messenger on the Windows platform.
We are working closely with Microsoft to resolve the issues and hope to return to the store shortly.
We apologize for the temporary inconvenience.
Unfortunately we cannot comment on any future timelines, sorry. Thank you for your continued patience and support of WhatsApp.
We also spoke with Microsoft who issued a similar statement:
WhatsApp Messenger has temporarily been removed from the Windows phone Store due to technical issues. Microsoft is working closely with WhatsApp on resolving the issues and hopes to return the app to the store shortly. We apologize for the temporary inconvenience.
So while we are no closer to knowing the full reasons behind the app being pulled, nor any the wiser about when it might return, it is important to keep in mind that problems do arise. Frustration at the situation is understandable, but playing the blame game achieves nothing. Microsoft is justified in pointing out that it is not responsible for the apps being pulled from the Windows Phone Store, but things most certainly could have been handled better.
WhatsApp has done its users something of a disservice by remaining so tight-lipped about what is going on. If the company is able to learn anything from this, it should be that people do not like being kept in the dark. It feels to many that Windows Phone is being treated rather differently to other platforms, when in fact that is not the case.
But to look at things positively, it is better to have no app for a short time whilst problems are fixed than to have a troublesome one causing issues on handsets around the world.
How do you feel? Are you happy to hold out for WhatsApp, or have you already started to look for alternatives?