The news about Facebook buying WhatsApp has traveled around the world with the speed of light. And the main reason for such a buzz about this deal is the money that has been paid for the messenger: $19 bln (according to Reuters).
Even today, in the world of big money, such a sum seems to be ridiculous when paying for a messenger. What are the motives behind this acquisition? The only person to know them for sure is, obviously, Zuckerberg. But we can make some guesses.
Facebook can’t find new users
Facebook is already notoriously known for its fake clicks when dealing with advertising. The company has already explored and conquered the segments that provided any value to it.
While WhatsApp, even having around $450 mln active users, is still a growing app with great potential (especially in developing countries and in Europe). Thus, for example, in France and Spain the popularity of the messenger among Apple users reaches some 80%. And practically the same figures are registered among Android users.
The tempo of WhatsApp users growth is impressive. And you should also take into consideration that there’s serious competition among this type of messengers (just take a look at Viber, Line, KakaoTalk, Snapchat, etc.).
Last spring Google already tried to acquire WhatsApp messenger, but the offer was nowhere near as generous, only $1 bln. After initial rejection Google even tried to talk the WhatsApp board into notifying if another offer comes in for buying the messenger.
So now Facebook has a competitive edge over its rivals from Google and Microsoft.
Cross platform usage
WhatsApp is available for installation on all mobile platforms: iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Nokia Asha and even Symbian. The absence of desktop and web versions of the app can be explained by the developers’ desire to keep the purity of traffic and user registrations by connecting the app to the phone number.
WhatsApp is ideal for Internet.org project
Last august Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of Internet.org project which aim is to make Internet more accessible for all people around the world. The main direction of this project is the reduction of mobile devices in price and creating of accessible software.
It is quite possible that Zuckerberg sees WhatsApp acquisition as one of the major step in the process of realization of this project. WhatsApp messenger has already become more popular than regular short messages via your mobile provider.
Some interesting facts:
- WhatsApp founder hates advertising and computer games (so I think that we can be sure that in the nearest future WhatsApp won’t be flooded with ads the way Facebook is);
- WhatsApp hasn’t spent any money on advertising and promotion;
- There’re only 32 developers behind WhatsApp;
- Another popular messenger, Viber, was acquired by Rakuten on February, 14, for $900 mln.