Samsung’s ChatOn will soon be ChatOff. After initially denying that it was closing its instant messaging service, the company confirmed on Thursday that ChatOn will be shut down early next year.
The plan is to close international versions on February 1 and then the U.S. mobile app shortly afterward.
It’s a setback for Samsung’s bid to build a larger ecosystem of apps and services around its mobile hardware. The company's TouchWiz custom interface is feature-heavy compared to other Android phone interfaces and includes several proprietary Samsung apps.
Samsung also has its own app store and a new Milk video service. It even built a LeBron James app for the NBA Playoffs. The Galaxy Note 4 features S Pen-compatible software for note-taking and the Galaxy S5 launched with S Health for fitness tracking, which also connects to the company's Gear line of wearables.
But many of these apps don't have the same appeal as Google's alternatives, such as Keep or Play Music, which have broader cross-platform appeal. You can switch from a Galaxy S5 to an HTC One, plug in your Google account, and not miss a beat with all your content.
The story behind the story: Samsung’s bevy of new apps has been overshadowed by disappointing profit numbers and rumors it would restructure its mobile team. Our chat with Samsung Senior Vice President Curtis Sasaki revealed the company really wants to make its customers happy, so we could see more scaling back of apps and initiatives that don’t take off.