Mukesh Ambani has been a busy man and so has his Jio Platforms. After receiving a flurry on investments, the company is now busy introducing new 'Made in India' solutions to age old digital problems. Barely days after releasing JioMeet, their video conferencing sofware that apes Zoom, the company has done it again. This time with JioChat, which rips-off most of WhatsApp's UI and UX.
While one may say that JioChat has been present ever since the telecom company was taking baby steps, the messaging app with over 50 million downloads as per the Play Store), was given a design overhaul recently. As a result, one can barely differentiate between JioChat and WhatsApp. Incidentally, Facebook, that owns WhatApp, is also one of the key investors in Jio Platforms.
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A quick side by side comparison makes it easy to highlight the similarities between both the chat applications. Right from the colour scheme, placement of product name, icons like search and camera apart from tabs like Chat and Status (renamed as Stories in JioChat).
The only obvious difference is the presence of Channels feature on JioChat which is missing from WhatsApp and instead of naming the Calls tabs as Calls, JioChat uses a handphone icon. Even the placement of the new chat icon at the bottom right is similar, though the icon itself is slightly different.
#Jio does it again. Checkout the “Fresh new look” of #JioChat. Have you seen this UI before? Now please don’t tell me #Facebook ‘allowed’ Jio to use the #WhatsApp UI after $5.7 billion of investment in the company being run by Asia’s richest person. https://t.co/1cG1oZTmYI pic.twitter.com/DC5o5oRZEeJuly 5, 2020
What's behind the move?
There is a lot of banter around how Jio Platforms is ripping off ideas and design from prospective competitors with some wondering why the company, which can afford to hire an army of developers across the globe to create innovative and useful designs, is resorting to copying products.
Twitter has been going berserk about the comparisons between JioChat and WhatsApp with some even suggesting that it is a ploy from Reliance Jio Platforms to provide ease of shifting over from a global product to one that is made in India.
Another theory is that the company was using this as a marketing hack. Else, the launch of yet another messaging app would hardly be a news item and even you wouldn't really care to read about it, right? At least, the fact that JioMeet has already been able to garner over a million downloads suggest the same.
In any case, the news of inspiration or imitating the best products is as stale as a newspaper from last week. A lot of Chinese companies like Xiaomi, LeEco and Zoom to name a few are heavily “inspired” from their US counterparts. Both Apple and Samsung often draw inspiration from each other. Same is the case between Android and iOS. The list of such products is endless, and we can do a separate article on that.
Though, we do expect a lot of innovation from Jio after all being Aatmnirbhar is the key hence the question of why not use the funds acquired recently to create a breakthrough product makes total sense.
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