Facebook has undertaken a broad range of acquisitions in recent times, the biggest of which includes the Instagram takeover. But it now appears the social networking giant is aiming to make a bigger mark in the mobile market, as a report by TechCrunch states that Facebook is in talks to acquire the popular messenger service, WhatsApp.
Details regarding the acquisition are currently scarce and there is no word on how much WhatsApp will be sold for. If Facebook does acquire WhatsApp, it will be a major step for the social network as the messaging service has quite a significant user base across the world. 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.
Facebook could be acquiring WhatsApp
WhatsApp has a large footprint in the mobile messenger market across the globe, which Facebook might be looking at 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.
As of now, WhatsApp users on iOS will need to pay a fee of Rs 55 to use the service. Android users can use it for free for the first year, after which they would be required to pay Rs 55 per year. Google stated that WhatsApp has had between 100 million and 500 million installations till date. Facebook has already launched a dedicated app for its messaging client.
The report states, “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.”
Facebook took over Instagram earlier this year 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.
We'll have to wait and see if, upon acquisition, Facebook shelves the WhatsApp app altogether, or if it plans to look at better integration with the existing Facebook app. We guess it would be the latter as WhatsApp could definitely benefit from Facebook acquiring it, as that would enable it to have social integration features built-in.