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May 12, 2016 10:25 AM EDT

WhatsApp Desktop App For Window And Mac Pose A Competitive Threat For Existing Messaging Apps!

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WhatsApp boasts a staggering 1 billion-plus active users, but the popular instant messaging client has mainly lived on smartphones for years. If reports doing rounds are anything to go by, with the debut of WhatsApp's desktop app, this is about to change.

WhatsApp announced its first desktop app for Windows 8 and Mac OS 10.9 and up.

On first login, the free-for-everyone desktop app prompts users to scan a code from the mobile WhatsApp app on their phones.

Steps to scan the code from your phone:

1) Press Menu button in WhatsApp
2) Tap WhatsApp Web
3) Scan the QR code on your Windows or Mac computer

Users can also access a list of all desktop/web clients that are logged in to their account from this menu.

In January, last year WhatsApp was officially made available for computers via a web client dubbed WhatsApp Web. The service was initially launched for Android and Windows Phone users and support for iOS users was added later.

The new desktop app offers an array of indigenous support including the ability to use keyboard shortcuts and the ability to have messages open in a separate window contrary to being lost in a sea of tabs, WhatsApp noted in a blog post Wednesday.

The desktop app users can not only send messages, but can also perform several other tasks such as sending attachments, recording voice messages, sending pictures and manage their message history as well.

That said, there is also a possibility that it might be missing some features from the phone version.

There have been a slew of desktop apps in the past that have acted as wrappers for the browser plugins, however this is the first time WhatsApp is giving its own native desktop solution, reports Forbes.

No doubt, this move by Facebook-owned WhatsApp could pose a competitive threat for several other messaging apps including Slack that has done reasonably well on desktop until now.

WhatsApp is primarily associated with chatting between friends and family, unlike other chat apps like Slack which are generally used as a workplace communication tool. What gives WhatsApp an edge over other workplace chat apps is the fact that several businesses use it for the group texting feature.

While some offices use WhatsApp to chat between co-workers to decide where to go for lunch, more formal use of the popular app exists as well. The diamond ring retailer in London uses WhatsApp as well as its desktop web clients to connect to their customers. Indian politicians have launched their election campaigns on WhatsApp as well.

With the arrival of WhatsApp's latest dedicated desktop client, things are sure to change for apps that are popular for enterprise use.

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