April 10, 2013
Rumored Google Buyout Of WhatsApp Was Just That – A Rumor
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Rumors have circulated before about a high-profile acquisition of the popular messaging service WhatsApp. Each rumor ended up being knocked down, however, as the companies involved denied the alleged buyout. The same scenario played out again this week.
On Monday, news sources picked up on a rumor started by DigitalTrends claiming that Google had plans to buy WhatsApp in order to create their own messaging service to compete with Apple´s iMessage and Facebook´s Messenger.
Later that evening, WhatsApp talked to All Things D and officially denied that they were in talks with Google and stated that they had no intention of selling.
This story emerged nearly four months after it was rumored that Facebook was interested in buying WhatsApp to improve their messaging services.
The DigitalTrends story which first claimed Google wanted to buy WhatsApp was a little shaky to begin with. The article cited only one inside source who claimed that the potential deal was worth an estimated $1 billion. This single source also claimed that WhatsApp was “playing hardball” and holding out for more money.
DigitalTrends also claimed that Google planned to package each of their messaging services, including the alleged WhatsApp, and roll them into one giant service called Google Babel.
This service is rumored to be announced during this year´s I/O conference in San Francisco. Based on leaks and rumors from multiple, credible sources, Babel looks to be a cross-platform messaging service combining the likes of Google+, Google Hangouts, Talk and Voice. This new offering is also expected to work on both Android and iOS as well as the Chrome OS and inside a Gmail window.
WhatsApp also works on multiple platforms, including BlackBerry and Windows Phone. Users from sundry platforms can use the app to send text, video and voice messages to one another without having to deduct it from their monthly text limit or data cap — assuming they´re connected to Wi-Fi, of course.
The app is a familiar member of top-ten best seller lists across the world and is responsible for billions of messages sent around the world each day.
For example, the company bragged that they were able to facilitate some 18 billion messages on New Years Eve 2012 alone. The DigitalTrend source claimed WhatsApp is currently bringing in roughly $100 million in revenue each year through their $1-a-year subscription fees. While iOS users pay this fee upfront when they download the app, users on other platforms are allowed to use the app free of charge for the first year. After that, they´re asked to pay just $1 per year to stay connected with their family and friends.