Saturday, 12 April 2014
Friday, 21 March 2014
Late yesterday, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for the princely (and ludicrous) sum of $19 billion in cash and stock. This is one of the largest acquisitions in Silicon Valley history — and yet, if you’re American, you probably don’t even know what WhatsApp is, let alone why it’s worth $19 billion. In a sentence, WhatsApp replaces text messaging (SMS) — and it has grown to 450 million monthly users in under five years. While a purchase price of $19 billion might seem like insanity, especially when compared to its $1 billion acquisition of Instagram, it’s actually a savvy (or desperate, depending on your point of view) move to ensure that Facebook remains the world’s predominant messaging platform.
What is WhatsApp?
The short answer is that WhatsApp is a replacement for SMS (texting) for every major mobile platform (iOS, Android, Symbian, Windows Phone, BlackBerry) — but it also allows you to send photos, videos, and audio clips as well. Because it uses the internet, and thus your data package, it avoids the crazy fees that some carriers charge for SMS. WhatsApp has done for instant messaging what Skype did for international calling, basically.
Why haven’t you heard of WhatsApp? Because, for whatever reason, it hasn’t yet become popular in the US. It is incredibly popular in the rest of the world, though — most notably in Europe, but also in the all-important developing economies of Africa and Asia. The growth rate of WhatsApp has been utterly insane: In November 2013 it had 190 million monthly active users; today, it has 450 million active users and 320 million daily active users, with 1 million new users joining every day. Upwards of 50 billion text messages are sent and received by WhatsApp every 24 hours (more than doubling Facebook’s usage), along with hundreds of millions of photos and video messages. WhatsApp is huge.
In terms of monetization, WhatsApp is free for the first year, and then $1 per year after that. There is no advertising. The entire service is developed and maintained by less than 50 employees. The company has never spent a penny on marketing. WhatsApp is a classic example of identifying a gap in the market, and then producing a very simple app that perfectly fulfils that need. (The back-end — which is probably one of the busiest databases in the world — is programmed in Erlang, incidentally.)
Why did Facebook pay $19 billion for WhatsApp?
Another possibility is that Facebook simply sees WhatsApp as an easy way to pick up its “next billion” users. Facebook, which sits at around 1.23 billion monthly active users, has previously stated that the only way it will keep growing is if it taps developing markets in Asia and Africa. WhatsApp is already huge in both those areas. It’s also worth pointing out that Facebook now has access to a lot of mobile phone numbers, and a lot of new advertising eyeballs — though, for now, Facebook says WhatsApp will remain as-is, just like Instagram. (Read: Facebook, ARM, x86, and the future of the data center.)
At the end of the day, though, spending $19 billion — more than 10% of Facebook’s total market valuation — without a clear purpose in mind is a big pill to swallow for Facebook’s share holders. (Incidentally, Google reportedly offered $10 billion for WhatsApp, but was turned down.) Having said that, considering carriers squeeze billions of dollars per year from SMS, maybe $19 billion is actually a small price to pay for a big slice of that pie — maybe this is actually a sign that Facebook is diversifying, in case the bottom falls out of the advertising market.
Sunday, 23 February 2014
This has got to be one of the worst times to go down. WhatsApp has been down for the last hour or so for many countries around the world. Check out the details regarding WhatsAppbeing offline in many countries below.
If you have tried to use WhatsApp in the last hour or so you would have noticed that your smartphone keeps trying to connect to WhatsApp servers but it fails. The “connecting” word keeps appearing to no avail. If you are seeing this problem then you are not alone, a huge portion of WhatsApp users are facing this issue right now.
WhatsApp was recently acquired by Facebook for a staggering $19 billion, one of the largest tech acquisitions of recent times. Facebook is going to pay $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in stocks. Another $3 billion is going to go to the employees of WhatsApp.
This has got to be one of the worst timings for being offline, as many people are questioning the huge amount Facebook has paid for buying WhatsApp.
Thursday, 20 February 2014
Facebook has bought WhatsApp for approximately £11.4bn or $19bn making it one of the largest acquisitions in tech history. To give you some idea it's over double the amount spent by Microsoft buying Nokia last year.
The app, which is available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 8 has over 450m users and counting. If the deal goes ahead Facebook will be buying one of the largest independent messaging services in the world, beating the likes of ChatOn and Line both of whom have also been seeing steady growth.
In a statement made last night Mark Zuckerberg said, "WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable, I've known Jan for a long time and I'm excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected."
For those of you wondering if WhatsApp will become integrated into Facebook's own messaging service fear not. According to the company it'll be employing the same approach it took with Instagram, leaving the company to remain separate whilst sharing expertise across the brands.