Depending on whose analysis you read Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, Facebook’s decision to acquire the messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion was either a terrible idea that tanked its stock
, a bold act of possible genius
, or perhaps a way to get one over on Google
WhatsApp itself discussed the deal—$4 billion in cash, $12 billion in stock, and another $3 billion in restricted stock that will vest over the next four years—in terms of what it will mean for its 450 million users.
Here’s what co-founder Jan Koum wrote on the company’s blog
Today we are announcing a partnership with Facebook that will allow us to continue on that simple mission. Doing this will give WhatsApp the flexibility to grow and expand, while giving me, Brian, and the rest of our team more time to focus on building a communications service that’s as fast, affordable and personal as possible.
Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing.
Koum added that WhatsApp will continue to cost a “nominal fee,” work on any smartphone, and be ad-free. That last point is particularly surprising, considering that Facebook is now officially a mobile ad firm
, with 53 percent of its revenue coming from mobile advertising.
“There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product,” Koum wrote.
(Though Koum says the service won’t change for customers, things have clearly changed quite a bit for WhatsApp’s employees, who marked the occasion with Cristal
The reassurances were almost certainly welcome, but one thing WhatsApp’s founders may have wanted to add was some explanation as to just what their service is. Tweets similar to this one were not all that uncommon after the acquisition announcement:
WhatsApp is essentially an app that serves as an alternative to traditional text messaging. It’s hugely popular outside North America, particularly in South American markets and India. In the U.S., where text messaging is usually is necessarily part of most cell phone plans, it’s not as widely used.
The app is a free download and is free to use for a year. After that it’s $0.99 per year to use.
Facebook paid $42 per user, though. How did the company explain that? Here’s what it said in its press release
The acquisition supports Facebook and WhatsApp's shared mission to bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core internet services efficiently and affordably. The combination will help accelerate growth and user engagement across both companies.
Does that sound like things are about to change for WhatsApp users, in spite of what Koum said? Please chime in, PR Daily