April 8, 2013
Rumor Hints Google Looking To Buy WhatsApp For $1B
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
For the second time in nearly four months, the popular messaging service WhatsApp is rumored to be nearing the final stages of an acquisition deal. This time, however, the potential buyer is said to be the search engine giant and Android creator Google. If the two are actually in talks and the deal goes through, this could give Android a native app to compete head on with Apple´s iMessage and Facebook´s Messenger app.WhatsApp is a very popular messaging service that gives users the ability to chat without using minutes or burning through their SMS allowances. Services like WhatsApp, Apple´s iMessage and Facebook´s Messenger have been blamed for the declining number of text messages being exchanged each month.
DigitalTrends started the rumor this weekend and has said WhatsApp is apparently “playing hardball” with the search giant by holding out for more money.
The two companies allegedly began discussing this acquisition four to five weeks ago, and according to DigitalTrend´s source, WhatsApp could pull in as much as $1 billion in the deal. Such a sticker price could put them in the same echelon as Instagram, which was bought by Facebook for roughly the same amount.
DigitalTrends claims that if 2012 was the year of photo sharing apps, then 2013 will be the year of messaging apps — an arena in which Google has been slacking until now .
According to this report, Google plans to continue with their new ethos of “More wood behind fewer arrows,” lumping together each of their messaging services under one umbrella. This umbrella is rumored to be called “Google Babel” and would feature their newest acquisition.
WhatsApp is the Instagram of these apps, earning the number one spot in the paid app category in more than 100 countries. Users who want a quick way to connect with their friends on different networks and platforms often use WhatsApp to avoid extra fees from their carrier.
For example, WhatsApp famously bragged that they processed some 18 billion messages on New Years Eve 2012 alone.
WhatsApp has also been able to pocket a sizable amount of money from these users. The app effectively costs just one dollar to use. iOS users are asked to pay this money up front while users on other platforms can download and use the app for free for the first year. After that, the app asks for a $1-per-year subscription fee.
DigitalTrend´s source for this rumor claims WhatsApp is bringing in roughly $100 million in revenue each year through their $1-a-year subscription fees.
WhatsApp is no stranger to being courted by large companies. This isn´t the first time that Google has had their eye on the service. And last December, it was Facebook who was rumored to be looking to buy WhatsApp.
There was no price listed with this rumored deal, and at the time Facebook was doing all they could to improve their mobile strategy.
The new DigitalTrends rumor has only one source and has not yet been corroborated by any other news sites, and neither Google or WhatsApp has made an official statement about it.