$15 billion dollars. $18 billion dollars. Google offered $10 billion. That can buy a lot of other things. 450 million users, over 90% of which are users daily. Facebook are paying something like “$42 per user”. 50 billion Whatsapp messages sent daily. 20 billion SMS messages sent daily. Something about youth usage of Whatsapp versus youth lack-of-usage of Facebook messaging. Top line stats, eh. You’ll have read them already.
More interesting is talk about how Facebook will absorb Whatsapp. Will they? Is it such a certainty Facebook will just asorb Whatsapp, like an impulse themseles, Google, Yahoo! et al can’t resist? What is stopping Facebook just owning Whatsapp and leaving it to its own devices? Whatsapp’s got its own identity and audience already.
Also, would that be a smarter move? Facebook as a service is hefty, bloated and struggled to create slimmer, mono-focused offshoots. Paper was created by an innovation team that works in isolation as a specialised product team. Whatsapp has got where it has operating just like that, left to its own smartphone devices.
Also interesting is what other text message services are out there - and more importantly where.
Few noted (but this research did back in November) Facebook might be ahead in the United States as messenging app, but mostly across the world Whatsapp is nipping it. Everyone wants to be the winner: in the lead, dominant.
I did say mostly. There are exceptions that break Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp usage.
Japan’s Line has a reported 350 million users.
China has WeChat and Sina Weibo jostling for the eager attention of a huge population that continues to embrace what modern life can offer. But these guys are already huge in China.
What would they be if they moved outside of their domestic markets? (And I chuckle as I think about the idea of a ‘domestic market’ on the internet.)
In similar acquisition news a week ago Japanese company Rakuten bought another message sending platform, Viber, for $900 million. A platform that reportedly has 300 million users, but failed to catch attention in any of the many articles, tables, charts and infographics around the Whatsapp purchase other than being “bought”. Two-thirds the number of Whatsapp’s user base, and yet the sale/purchase of Viber generated nowhere near as much news, despite being part of a wider suite of (almost Yahoo!-esque) acquisitions by Rakuten.
All these (and more) to me are just as interesting as Whatsapp, especially when you consider their position within territories. What they lack is Whatsapp’s geographical usage spread - but even there are limits to where Whatsapp has usage/reach.
Will any team up? With each service having its own interface and own traffic network, unlikely. Will any merge? A possibility. But with so much choice for the audiences if one service was to die there are plenty more options.
And that last point is the most interesting for me. How do you, as a user, know which services - few or many - you should be on? We’ve come a long way from just SMS through our phones as our text messaging service.