In case you think there’s something up with that headline, let me repeat it again… Facebook is buying WhatsApp for about US$19bn. $12bn in Facebook shares, $4bn in cash and $3bn in vesting stock for the founders and employees over the next four years.
WhatsApp, a simple messaging app, has grown in leaps and bounds over the years and now has an impressive 450m active users monthly and is growing by 1m new registered accounts per day. These numbers are so big to me that I’m having a hard time just throwing millions and billions around nonchalantly.
“No ads! No games! No gimmicks!”
WhatsApp started out as a simple app for founder Jan Koum to notify people if he was available to pick up calls (because he kept missing calls). Along with co-founder Brian Acton, they’ve managed to stick to their original vision of “No ads! No games! No gimmicks!” and still remained low key despite growing so quickly.
Will anything change?
Obviously if you’re a user (like I am), you’re wondering if things will change with this new acquisition, after all, now Whatsapp is in that awkward position of being in the same family as – yet still competitors with – Facebook Messenger. Jan Koum has taken to the WhatsApp blog to reassure us that nothing will change and that WhatsApp will remain as an independent brand and team. Koum will also join Facebook’s board of directors.
This is great news for the whole team at WhatsApp, as this is currently the biggest ever purchase of a Silicon Valley-owned company. As users we’re hoping that Facebook will continue the vision of this small messaging app that managed to catch the eye of giants.