Light Reading

Facebook to Acquire WhatsApp for $16B

Sarah Thomas
2/19/2014
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In what will be its biggest acquisition ever, Facebook announced Wednesday that it's spending more than $16 billion to acquire the over-the-top messaging provider WhatsApp.

Facebook said in an SEC filing that it's splashing down $16 billion in cash and stock, as well as $3 billion in restricted stock for employees of the communications provider, which offers an app for free texting, group chats, and content sharing.

We've said in the past that WhatsApp would be a dream partner for a wireless operator looking to make a serious OTT play, but now it's another opportunity lost to a social network. (See Operators Can't Kik the OTT Habit.)

And it's a big opportunity, at that -- WhatsApp has more than 450 million monthly active users, 70% of which use the app more than once a day. Users send half a billion photos, 200 million voice messages, and 100 million videos over its network-riding service every single day.

WhatsApp, once a staunch Facebook competitor and rumored acquisition target for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), might butt heads with its new owner on how to treat mobile ads. Facebook says WhatsApp will continue to operate independently, but whether it will remain ad free is another question. (See WhatsApps' $1B Message and Mobile Ads Rack Up Cash, Social Status.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
3/2/2014 | 4:05:21 AM
Re: Re : Facebook to Acquire WhatsApp for $16B
SachinEE, 

I am surprised that there are still people using Yahoo Messanger. I would have dared to say it was already dead. 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Blogger
3/2/2014 | 3:57:02 AM
Re: Nothing changes?
wanlord, 

You forgot to list Google+ to your signature / multiple methods for contacting you. I am assuming you are also on G+, aren't you? 

-Susan
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/24/2014 | 1:27:33 PM
Re : Facebook to Acquire WhatsApp for $16B
@Susan: Mobile messaging is commonly grouped as "pre-whatsapp age' and "post-whatsapp age", and with moving technology and finding new ways to modulate communicating options, users find it way easier connecting and communicating via whatsapp than yahoo. I think what they need is a major shaping up, from the marketing point of view, as well as application point of view. Lets face it, the yahoo Messenger is plain boring.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/24/2014 | 1:26:04 PM
Re : Facebook to Acquire WhatsApp for $16B
Well, why not? Whatsapp is the most famous messaging service right now, and can be installed in every phone possible, except a handful of devices running ancient software. I don't think Facebook is doing any wrong acquiring Whatsapp, because Facebook understands business and more so when a lot of users are available. To be fair Whatsapp has more "active" users than Facebook itself.  However with more app developers coming out and making nice communicating apps (e.g. Snapit) with increased security, I think Whatsapp just might lose the edge in the long run. Let's face it, Whatsapp has security issues. No?
wanlord
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wanlord,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/21/2014 | 11:22:46 AM
Re: Nothing changes?
I still don't get it. With unlimited text plans, imessage between iphones not counting as text, why do people go out of their way to download and pay for a client? What kind of IP or technology or market advantage does WhatsApp have that nobody else can provide to users that are so fickle they will use another app in a heartbeat?

It's getting crazy.  My new OOO signature:

---------------------------------------

I am out of the office this week.

You Can Contact me by one or multiple methods. Response may be delayed as I randomly check each app.

Facebook
LinkedIn mail
Twitter
iMessage or SMS
Facetime
Instagram
Google Chat
Gmail
Work Email
WhatsApp
Lightreading message

And of course if you are really desperate and remember my Voice Number (I don't) then you can call me assuming my battery is not drained from running all those apps in the background.

 

Thanks.
R Clark
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R Clark,
User Rank: Blogger
2/21/2014 | 3:01:37 AM
Re: Nothing changes?
The WhatsApp interface is really clean, but in a lot of Asian markets people see it as boring compared to the busy WeChat or Line interfaces. They make money out of games and stickers. I can't see Facebook doing that with WhatsApp but will surely integrate it into its platform and - somehow - leverage it for its ad business.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
2/20/2014 | 7:09:14 PM
Re: Nothing changes?
This is my fault. I got a WhatsApp account about two weeks ago.

Sarah - "WhatsApp has a blog post out now promising that nothing will change post-Facebook acquisition. I'm not really buying it. Facebook Messenger is to subpar to keep it around much longer. I can't imagine FB won't try to integrate WhatsApp more fully."

Facebook has pretty much left Instagram alone, hasn't it?
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
2/20/2014 | 7:06:23 PM
Re: WhatsApp

BBM is likely to be a plum when Blackberry is inevitably sold for parts this year.

SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/20/2014 | 12:30:40 PM
Re: Nothing changes?
Well, I think you see that happen a lot. But, I tend to agree with Keyrouz...Facebook would be dumb to ruin what has made WhatsApp so popular -- it's simplicity and lack of ads. It would lose the user base it paid so dearly for (about $42 per person...yikes!).
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
2/20/2014 | 12:28:44 PM
Re: Kids
That's a good point. Most people I know who use it, that aren't kids, do so for cheaper international communication. 
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