Indian social media company Hike has announced that it will be introducing a new app that is very similar to Snapchat. The Hike messaging app will give users the ability to post pictures with live filters and is aimed primarily at the Indian market where Snapchat has not had a major impact. Hike acknowledges that their product is similar to Snapchat’s, but they maintain that there are many important differences. TechCrunch has an excellent article about the situation on its website.
The story shows how once a technology company introduces a marketable concept – in this case Snapchat’s winning combination of images and text – other companies quickly start doing the same thing with only subtle differences. Perhaps the most famous case of this is Microsoft using the basic concept of the Netscape web browser in developing their own Explorer web browser.
Of course, a major factor in who ends up profiting from a good technology concept is who has the money to get it on the marketplace on a massive scale. In this case, Snapchat is doing fine making money from their own concept, but Instagram and other companies are as well. Sadly, as in the case of the Netscape browser, the company that introduces the basic idea sometimes loses out entirely. Of course, patent laws exist to protect intellectual property, but in an increasingly globalized and unregulated marketplace, these laws are not as powerful as they perhaps once were.