WhatsApp Could Be The New What’s Up? For Facebook
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Here’s a lovely 20th birthday present for the Text Message: Rumors have begun to circulate about Facebook looking to acquire WhatsApp, a popular messaging app often blamed for the recent decrease in text messages. The story was first reported on by TechCrunch yesterday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Such a move would fall in line with Facebook’s recent shift to mobile. The social giant has made it clear that they not only want to be a strong player in the mobile sphere, they need to be.
“The big thing is obviously going to be mobile,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an October interview with Bloomberg.
“There are 5 billion people in the world who have phones, and a billion people using Facebook. There are actually already 600 million people using Facebook on phones, so that’s growing really quickly. And as more phones become smartphones, it’s just this massive opportunity,” added Zuckerberg.
WhatsApp is already a huge player in mobile. This app works on multiple smartphone platforms, such as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. This app allows its users to send photos, text messages, videos, voice notes to one another without digging into their monthly messaging allowance from their carriers. WhatsApp also works on Wi-Fi only devices, meaning Wi-Fi tablets and players can keep in touch with one another across platforms and without a data plan.
The app is free on platforms such as Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone, but costs 99 cents in Apple’s App Store. Regardless of it’s free price tag elsewhere, WhatsApp is currently number 2 in the paid apps category in the App Store.
There is a bit of disagreement when it comes to WhatsApp’s size. According to TechCrunch, WhatsApp is now sending 1 billion messages a day through its service. The Boy Genius Report, however, has pointed out that WhatsApp confirmed sending 10 billion messages a day in August.
This 10 billion— 4 billion inbound and 6 billion outbound— represents some huge growth for the app. In October 2011, WhatsApp was sending 1 billion messages a day, only to jump to 10 billion in just 10 months. Today, the app is No. 1 in 114 countries and in the top 5 list in 145 countries.
WhatsApp is quite popular in the US, but it’s real popularity is overseas and in Europe. Should Facebook really be in talks to acquire WhatsApp, they could use it to bring their messaging services to new and emerging markets.
As pointed out by TechCrunch, the two companies have very different ideas when it comes to earning revenue for their businesses. Facebook has been looking for ways to bring in more revenue outside of advertising, such as their new Gifts venture.
WhatsApp’s co-founder Jan Koum has lashed out at the idea of advertising in blog posts before, saying: “No one wakes up excited to see more advertising, no one goes to sleep thinking about the ads they’ll see tomorrow. We know people go to sleep excited about who they chatted with that day (and disappointed about who they didn’t).”
“Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product,” he said.
TechCrunch has not yet heard any comments from either Facebook or WhatsApp. At the moment, this story is still a developing rumor, it seems.