After controversy engulfed the launch of its ‘Kimbho‘ messenger last week, Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali withdrew the app from the Play Store, but the following day, the company announced that its farcical and amateurish first attempt at launching the app was just a test-run, and promised that the software “will come back again soon after we are absolutely sure of all technical issues”. All the while, playing the swadeshi card to the hilt and taking digs at WhatsApp.
Now, Acharya Balkrishna, Ramdev’s business partner in his muti-crore Rupee Patanjali empire, has reiterated that assertion, saying that Kimbho will be relaunched, but only after all the issues are dealt with. “We pledge not to launch the app until a team of expert hackers and security specialists plug all the security and privacy loopholes”, he reportedly said during a telephonic interview with Bloomberg.
In a surprising turn of events, Balkrishna also admitted to being an avid WhatsApp user himself, and said that the constant jibes at the Facebook-owned platform aren’t about pulling it down, but about reminding the 1.3 billion-strong country that it shouldn’t have to depend on foreign apps, especially, with so many talented software developers in the country.
“We respect WhatsApp. But when we have 1.3 billion people, many of them talented software developers, why can’t we build our own messenger with superior features, one that people can trust and which keeps user’s data within India?”
It is worth noting that when Kimbho was first launched on the Play Store as a swadeshi WhatsApp killer, it was dismissed by most users, observers and experts as a ‘fake’ app, a ‘joke’ and an embarrassment. Noted security researcher, Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y), even pointed out a bunch of security and privacy flaws in the app, claiming that it didn’t even offer the most basic security.
Hi @KimbhoApp before trying to compete #WhatsApp, you can try to secure your app. It's possible to choose a security code between 0001 and 9999 and send it to the number of your choice #kimbhoApp pic.twitter.com/YQqK8lfIeI
— Baptiste Robert (@fs0c131y) May 30, 2018
It will be interesting to see if Patanjali will be able to overcome the massive setback it faced in round 1 and offer its followers a better product in the coming days.