Mention the word Snapchat to a Windows Phone user and he will most likely shake with anger and vehemence. Why? Because this popular video messaging app is still not available on the Windows Phone App Store with no likely release prospect even for the foreseeable future. What is worse is that since December of 2014, even third party applications that were substituting for Snapchat for Windows Phone went missing. The reason? Snapchat had emailed all third party app users to refrain from using the apps or face the consequences – a possible account ban.
Most Windows Phone users were outraged by what had happened – after all, if the company did not have an official app nor had plans to develop one, it was only fair that they appeased their Windows Phone user base with alternate options.
User Reactions to Takedown
Reactions to the take-down ranged from anger and fury to pleading and cajoling.
One user questioned Snapchat on Twitter saying: “Just wanna know why there’s no snapchat for Windows phone??? pls, develop it or give the rights back to 6snap!” and then pleaded “and i’m saying it with all my heart, consider it!”.
Snapchat has however not softened its stand despite continued requests and pleas. The company apparently even had to take down its support page that allowed users to request the app for different platforms, due to the huge volume of requests it received for Windows Phone support.
Developer Rudy Huyn of 6snap, one of the best alternatives for Snapchat for Windows Phone and the most popular choice among its users was hopeful for a sensible resolution. He took to Twitter to inform his app users that he would be working closely with Microsoft to convince Snapchat to change its mind. That was almost 10 months ago. He even advised his Twitter followers/users to keep the app on their phones in the hope that things will change.
In January of 2015, Rudy made an unprecedented move. He offered to give Snapchat access to the 6snap source code with a request not to desert its Windows Phone users. That also appeared to have fallen on deaf ears. (Obviously Snapchat can make its own Windows Phone app and doesn’t need support from a third party developer to make that happen.)
Then in April of this year (2015), Rudy reported that 6snap won’t be coming to Windows Store after all, since Snapchat was firm on the ban.
Why the Ban?
To be fair to Snapchat, the reason for the clamp down on the third party plugins was cited as breach of security. A huge number of photos and videos from Snapchat users were stolen and posted on the web. Third party apps that used reverse-engineered APIs were found to be the source of the breach and the company was left with little choice but to ban them.
Although this explains the reason for the takedown, it still does not explain why Snapchat won’t make an official Snapchat for Windows Phone app. Perhaps, Snapchat CEO Evan Speigel’s reaction could offer some insight. In a Twitter chat with a Windows Phone user back in 2013, he flippantly remarked that he “didn’t think anyone used those.
However, it seems that Evan is either grossly ignorant or indifferent to the steady growth of the Windows Phone market. But what about the passionate pleas of the app fans? After all, a company can ill afford to turn a blind eye to such an outpouring of user requests.
Future of Snapchat for Windows Phone
Let’s face it! Windows Phone users love Snapchat. Although there are those who feel violated by Snapchat’s indifference to their pleas and swear that they are better off without it, there are those who still continue to petition the company. Windows Phone users are encouraged to sign a petition on Change.org to make Snapchat for Windows Phone. At present there are over 51000 petitioners but the campaign needs more steam (perhaps a celebrity endorsement?) if it is going to make Snapchat turn around and take notice.
Windows users can continue to hope for a change of heart from Snapchat (there was one vague tweet that raised hopes in May 2015 but nothing has emerged thereafter). Or hope that someone has the vision to create a noteworthy Snapchat competitor that can transform the way users snap and share photos and videos with the world.
Microsoft for its part could do more to encourage the big players to build apps for its platform. It should be plainly clear to them by now that Windows Phones can never be spoken of in the same breath as iPhone and Android if they don’t have the best apps in their kitty. And until that situation is fixed, people like Evan are only going to say “didn’t think anyone used those.”
What do you think of the sorry state of affairs concerning Snapchat and Windows Phone? Is the customer king no more?