India’s biggest telecom operator Reliance Jio got richer by billions of dollars in the last couple of months with funds coming from left, right, and center. But it seems that instead of finding some good use for all that cash on hand, the company’s been busy cloning popular apps to offer its own alternatives. Last week, JioMeet was called out for being a Zoom rip-off, and now Jio is back with JioChat, which looks like a photocopy of WhatsApp.
JioChat isn’t a new app under Jio’s massive portfolio; in fact, it’s been around since the early days of the carrier. But it only recently got a major facelift that brought a host of visual changes making it look brazenly similar to WhatsApp. While JioMeet was a picture-perfect copy of Zoom, the redesigned JioChat app is a little more forgiving — it only mirrors the tabbed home screen and the unmistakable green shade of WhatsApp.
As compared side-by-side in the images above, the top menu tabs look basically identical on both apps, including the camera icon and the app name towards the left along with the ellipsis dropdown menu on the right. Jio’s version also has an extra Channels tab that lists a bunch of branded accounts for its users to follow. The green color palette, on the other hand, is just the default theme option (changed from blue in previous app versions), which you can tweak from the app’s settings menu.
The investment spree we were talking about earlier was, in fact, kicked off by Facebook, which happens to own the messaging platform WhatsApp. The social media giant invested $5.7 billion in Jio back in April for close to a 10-percent stake in the carrier’s various businesses. Despite that, accusing Facebook of "allowing" or having a role to play in Jio’s latest cloning job is a little far-fetched. Doing so would only sabotage its own uber-popular global messaging service for a relatively small-time local alternative.