Facebook has acquired the mobile messenger service WhatsApp for $19 billion. The company will pay $4 billion in cash and the remaining $12 billion in Facebook shares. It calls for an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp founders and employees that will vest over four years.
” WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia and yes, those phones can all message each other! Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends.
In addition to basic messaging WhatsApp users can create groups, send each other unlimited images, video and audio media messages”, says official web-site.
Competing with a number of Asian-based messaging services, WhatsApp handled ten billion messages per day in August 2012, growing from two billion in April 2012, and one billion the previous October.
On June 13, 2013, WhatsApp announced that they had reached their new daily record by processing 27 billion messages.[According to the Financial Times, WhatsApp “has done to SMS on mobile phones what Skype did to international calling on landlines.”As of November 10, 2013, WhatsApp had over 190 million monthly active users, 400 million photos are shared each day, and the messaging system handles more than 10 billion messages each day. In a December 2013 blog post, WhatsApp claimed that 400 million active users use the service each month.
So why WhatsApp is so popular?
One of the founders Jan Koum told the New York Times in 2012, “We are providing a richness of experience and an intimacy of communication that e-mail and phone calls simply can’t compare with.”
“No one in the history of the world has ever done something like this,” Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on a conference call on Wednesday.
WhatsApp Inc. was founded in 2009 by Americans a Stanford alumnus, Brian Action and Ukrainian immigrant who dropped out of college, Jan Koum (also the CEO), both former employees of Yahoo.
WhatsApp is based in Silicon Valley (Mountain View, California). The company employs – 55 people. $19-billion valuation could, in an alternate universe where each employee was given an equal share, fetch $350 million per employee.
Zuckerberg and Koum said that WhatsApp will continue to operate independently, and promised to continue its policy of no advertising.