On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it had acquired popular messaging app, WhatApp, for $19 billion including an additional $3 billion in vesting stock options. Naturally, there is a lot of buzz surrounding the transaction and many WhatsApp users are already jumping to conclusions and tweeting their intentions to discontinue use of WhatsApp simply because it now falls under the Facebook Umbrella. So what are the facts of this acquisition and should you consider ditching WhatsApp for another free messaging service?
WhatsApp will continue to operate independently and retain its brand
WhatsApp will not become Facebook Messenger and vice versa. At the moment, WhatsApp users can use the service for free for one year. If they want to continue using the service, they must pay a subscription fee of $0.99 / £0.69 per year. A steal considering what you pay to your provider every month for the privilege of unlimited SMS messaging.
‘We’re not really concerned about monetisation today, we’re focused on the growth’ – Jan Koum, WhatsApp CEO
It’s very clear that they want us to know that the current focus is not on monetisation of the service. Don’t expect to see ads popping up in your conversations any time soon. In fact, Mark Zuckerburg stated that he ‘(doesn’t) personally think ads are the right way to monetise messaging services’ but this doesn’t mean they won’t be looking at other ways to monetise the service down the line. At least for the foreseeable future, WhatsApp will remain the cheap and effective instant messaging service we all know and love.
‘Whatsapp is the only widely used app we’ve ever seen that has more engagement and a higher percent of people using it daily than Facebook itself’ – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
It’s very clear to anyone paying attention that Mark Zuckerberg’s is working hard to build a global network of people connected by the internet and it’s looking likely that he will eventually succeed, but only time will tell. He is actively involved with Internet.org, a global inititative with the objective of making the internet accessible to the 2 thirds of the population currently without access to that valuable resource.
‘The right strategy, we believe, is to continue focusing on growth and the product and succeeding in building the best communication tools in the world’ – Mark Zuckerberg
In its first four years, WhatsApp’s user base has grown to over 450 million monthly users – more than double Facebook’s monthly users in the same period – and it’s on course to reach 1 billion users by April 2015. With a dedicated user base in Europe, it seems likely that WhatsApp is on it’s way to becoming the go-to instant messaging app and it will be interesting to see what effect Facebook’s acquisition will have on the App’s strong standing in the industry.
Author: Prab Chadha