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Facebook in Talks to Buy the Popular Messaging App WhatsApp: Report

WhatsApp, the most popular online messenger on smartphones, which boasts of 100 million daily users spanning across hundreds of countries, and delivers almost a billion messages per day, could very soon be another high-profile acquisition by the social-networking giant-Facebook.

According to TechCrunch’s report, WhatsApp has already talked with Facebook over the acquisition. The blog, however, refrained from declaring the price at which deal could be sealed.

It’s not easy to decipher why Facebook chose WhatsApp as its archway to becoming popular on the mobile platform. The popular online messaging app is easily one of the most downloaded apps on various mobile platforms like Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Symbian and Nokia S40. Facebook, on the other hand, is clearly facing problems on mobile front, as it has been unable to lure the masses to make use of its mobile platform.

“The big thing is obviously going to be mobile,” Zuckerberg told BusinessWeek. “There are more than 5 billion phones in the world.”

Contrarily, its native mobile app- Facebook Messenger, which was designed to entice people to shift from traditional messaging apps to its native platform, has failed comprehensively in getting popular among the masses. By buying WhatsApp, Facebook clearly wants to provide wider range of services by having a closer integration with mobile messaging and internet telephony services (Let’s not forget the Skype-Facebook integration)

WhatsApp is spanned across hundreds of countries, is being used by an estimated 100 million people on over 750 networks across the world, and sends over 1 billion messages per day. Let’s not make that an under-statement. 1 billion messages per day equals 41,666,667 messages an hour, 694,444 messages a minute, and 11,574 messages a second.

Facebook has been criticized since long, for its inefficient business model, which is one of the main reasons why it has failed to strike the chord with the masses on the mobile platform. It’s still in kerfuffle, as to whether or not to show adverts to smartphone/tablet users, and is thereby using a more novice approach. The approach, nonetheless, has been good as Facebook’s Q3 results showed how it bagged nearly 14% of the revenue from mobile adverts.

On the contrary, WhatsApp has laid its business plan, clear enough, which explicitly states how reluctant it is about integrating ads on its native app. In his blog, WhatsApp CEO and co-founder Jan Koum wrote,

“When we sat down to start our own thing together three years ago, we wanted to make something that wasn’t just another ad clearinghouse. We wanted to spend our time building a service people wanted to use because it worked and saved them money and made their lives better in a small way. We knew that we could charge people directly if we could do all those things. We knew we could do what most people aim to do every day: avoid ads.”

As both have widely diverse business plans, nothing conclusive can be said about how the equation is going to be, post-acquisition. Nonetheless, the move raises questions about how Facebook would be integrating with the most popular online messaging service. Would we be able to ‘Poke’ on WhatsApp now, or would we now be comment on each others’ WhatsApp status?

Is this a good move?

Well, we will have to wait for that. Facebook clearly needs a popular mobile-networking platform to expand its range of services. WhatsApp could really transform Facebook, and make it a much better place to be. It could provide Facebook, the ultimate mobile messaging platform, which it’s looking for.

Facebook, on the other hand, could work in bringing features like- voice chats, video chats, sharing to social networks and in-service app sharing to the already popular messaging platform- Whatsapp. This could help WhatsApp grapple against the growing competition and allow it to expand the number of services it caters to over 1 billion people.

All in all, we just can’t wait to seeing two giants- spread across two widely different platforms, serving widely different array of services- ‘Double tick’.

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