Patanjali’s hope for dominating the social media sphere has faced another setback. Baba Ramdev’s plan to move his empire into the world of massive databases and provide India with an indigenous competitor to WhatsApp seems to have failed yet again.
Patanjali’s internet-based messaging app – named Kimbho – has missed the 27 August deadline it gave itself. Reports state that the app’s launch has been indefinitely postponed as a result.
The app was initially launched in May of this year. However, after scathing reviews from anonymous French Twitter security expert Elliot Anderson, Kimbho was removed from the Play Store and App Store. Elliot claimed that he could hack into every user’s profile, and view all their messages within a day of the launch.
Within 24 hours, the app was pulled from both Android and Apple devices. Patanjali’s spokesperson S K Tijarawala stated that any remaining Kimbho apps on the Play Store or App store were fakes.
The official line was that the initial May release was always planned to be a one-day trial. Nothing was wrong with the app. It had a limited trial re-release on August 15 to celebrate Independence day. That’s when the trouble started.
Soon after, the app was pulled from the Play Store and Patanjali’s team cried foul over the incident. They went as far as to label it a “conspiracy” by foreign actors to undermine India’s first ambitious English-language social media app.
Soon after the app was taken down, a key Kimbho developer Aditi Kamal quit the project. She had decided instead to relaunch her own messaging app “Bolo” that had been shut down years earlier. Despite Patanjali’s statements that there was nothing in common between the two apps, it did not look good.
Now, of course, Kimbho has hit it’s latest stumbling block by missing their own 27 August deadline. All this during a time when WhatsApp were vulnerable as they have been struggling to contain the spread of fake news on their service.
Header image courtesy Asish Maitra/Prime Minister’s Office, Government of India.