Facebook buys WhatsApp in attempt to capture broader, global audience

By Scott Onigman, staff writer

Last week, Facebook announced its acquisition of WhatsApp, one of the largest messaging systems in the world. Facebook paid approximately $16 billion for the company, with some estimates at $19 billion; the transaction will be $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in Facebook stock, and $3 billion for WhatsApp’s founders and employees according to the wired.com article, “Why Facebook Just Paid $19 Billion for a Messaging App.”

WhatsApp’s user base is currently 450 million users per month—less than Facebook’s 1.23 billion active users as of Dec. 31, 2013. WhatsApp provides users who frequently travel or communicate with people outside of their own country with a messaging service that costs a one-time fee of $0.99. The app utilizes wifi that works on most smartphones, helping users avoid high costs of sending text messages across borders, according to the nytimes.com article “The Other Big Winner in the WhatsApp Deal: Your Wallet.” This makes WhatsApp appealing as an inexpensive alternative to text messaging in Europe and other continents.

Key features of WhatsApp include group chat, photo and video sharing, and location sharing; additionally, it features statistics between two users according to nytimes.com article, “Founders of an Anti-Facebook are Won Over.”  By combining components of other messaging platforms and allowing users to message people on other platforms — unlike BlackBerry Messenger or iMessage — WhatsApp is a notable international messaging platform.

Facebook has its own messaging service, launched in April 2008, according to Facebook’s news website. Its current product offering aligns with many features WhatsApp currently offers: sending and receiving messages and photos, as well as video and location sharing. The current Facebook messaging app, which began on desktops before transitioning into the mobile setting, has a standalone app on many platforms.

 

Junior Scott Onigman is a junior. His email is sonigman@fandm.edu.

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