Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Turns out, Facebook acquiring WhatsApp was just a rumour

One of the hottest rumours doing the rounds the last couple of days was about Facebook looking to acquire messaging service WhatsApp. However, it appears that the reports were merely speculative and multiple sources have informed AllThingsD that Facebook would not be acquiring WhatsApp. WhatsApp also told AllThingsD that the article was a rumour and not factually accurate.

The report by AllThingsD read, “But the Facebook acquisition talks aren’t happening, said multiple sources. WhatsApp gave us the following statement: “The TechCrunch article is a rumor and not factually accurate. We have no further information to share at the moment.” Meanwhile, Facebook gave a standard non-helpful statement of: “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”

For those not in the know, yesterday a report by TechCrunch stated that Facebook was in talks to acquire WhatsApp. The report said that details regarding the acquisition were currently scarce and there was no word on how much WhatsApp will be sold for. WhatsApp currently sits at pole position in the iOS App Store and is priced at Rs 55. This app is available on a range of other platforms as well, including Android, Windows Phone and Symbian.

The report stated, “Unlike Facebook, Whatsapp is a paid app. And obviously, having a paid, ad-free service is an expansion of Facebook’s business model beyond advertising. We’ve already seen Facebook launch another service that diversifies it — Gifts — and the positive impact that has had with investors.”

WhatsApp has a large footprint in the mobile messenger market across the globe, which companies like Facebook could be interested in for expanding in more countries. The service has users in over 100 countries and is available across more than 700 mobile networks. In fact, WhatsApp's user base is so large that it managed to record 10 billion messages in one day - comprising 6 billion outbound messages and 4 billion inbound messages - in August this year.

Facebook took over Instagram earlier this year for $1 billion and added some of Instagram's more popular features onto its iOS app, which gave users the ability to add filters to their photos before uploading them. However, Facebook has still kept Instagram as a standalone app and Instagram continues to flourish. Commenting on the acquisition and the decision to let Instagram remain as a standalone app, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, wrote in his blog, "... we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram's strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook. That's why we're committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people."

Everyone (yours truly included) wondered yesterday if Facebook would follow the same route with WhatsApp or integrate it into its mobile apps, if the rumours were true, but as it turns out, these were just rumours and nothing else. Since WhatsApp rubbished the TechCrunch article and stated that it was just a rumour, it appears that the case has been laid to rest for now.

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