Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp for $19 billion has taught us a lot of things, and while the focus has been mainly upon the breathtaking sums of money involved in this particular transaction, WhatsApp’s swift 5-year rise, and the dogged, determined nature of one Brian Acton, the acquisition has made apparent the fact that Facebook is up there with the big boys when it comes to spending. Indeed, hitherto, it has been Google stumping up the cash to acquire large firms such as Motorola, and intriguingly, Fortune is reporting that the search giant once placed $10 billion on the table in an offer to buy WhatsApp out.
The report is mainly based upon hearsay, and there’s no telling precisely when the supposed offer was made, or indeed the circumstances surrounding the event in general. However, the apparent offer did not also include the guarantee of a seat on the board at Google, something both Brian Acton and Jan Koum – co-founders of WhatsApp, Inc. – will be getting at Facebook, which might have proved a critical factor given Acton and Koum’s history for working at Yahoo!, Inc..
Although, compared to the $19 billion that Facebook wound up paying, the Google offer appears comparatively low, there’s no telling when said offer was made, and considering WhatsApp is only five years old, its valuation will, speaking in terms of averages, have gone up a few billion dollars as each year passed from its inception.
It’s still early doors, and amid the hysteria, the story is still unfolding, but one significant point that has been made by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is that WhatsApp will continue to be developed independently of Facebook, akin to the manner in which Instagram has been handled. When the social network bought Instagram from Burbn, Inc. in 2012, many users feared that the app would morph into an extension of Facebook, but since Zuck has, thus far, stuck to his initial promises, WhatsApp’s 450 or so million users can rest assured that the service won’t be changing its name to Facebook Messenger – or anything of the sort – any time soon.
With both WhatsApp and Instagram now under its belt, Facebook status as a mobile superpower is confirmed, and with the Menlo Park-based outfit seemingly unafraid to pay top dollar, this is just the start.
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