Facebook has been increasingly focusing on extending its reach via mobile phones and latest reports indicate that they plan to acquire WhatsApp, a popular messaging service.
If the report on the talks between the two companies is to be believed, WhatsApp will provide a new dimension to Facebook’s business model. It would be a great opportunity to keep its mobile users in the fray capitalizing on the large numbers that WhatsApp has already garnered. This move from Facebook reflects Mark Zuckerburg’s statement about the role of mobile consumers being paramount in helping Facebook achieve the next billion mark.
WhatsApp application is used across the globe by more than 750 mobile networks in a wide array of platforms such as Android, Windows Phone, S40, S60 and Blackberry. WhatsApp is a paid and ad-free service unlike Facebook. If Facebook acquires WhatsApp, it would make a significant impact on the social networking site’s business model, taking it beyond advertising.
For a paid app, WhatsApp has become a hit in the market. It currently ranks second position among paid apps in the U.S. version of Apple’s App Store priced at $0.99 with discounts sometimes being availed on the app or even given away free of cost. On Google Play Store, the users can use the app for free during the first year, after which $0.99 (approx Rs 54) has to be paid each year. According to Google, WhatsApp Android app has already seen installations in the range 100 million to 500 million till date.
Neither Facebook nor WhatsApp has commented on the rumor so far, but it is obvious that acquiring WhatsApp would be quite a feather on Facebook’s cap.