WhatsApp has been making headlines in recent times and positively too. This social messaging app which ruled the hand held device segment has recently been in the spotlight for being acquired by Facebook, the social media giant. In a development that has shocked Silicon Valley and prominent tech investors, Facebook will payout $19 billion, a staggering amount by any standards for this popular app. This comprises of about $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in stock options and an additional $3 billion in stocks and benefits for the co-founders of WhatsApp.
Some investors and tech experts label this as the biggest deal ever and the most lucrative one ever for WhatsApp. Indeed, the acquisition of WhatsApp and its integration into the Facebook portfolio will make the company a force to reckon with in the instant smartphone messaging space which was steadily overriding its own chat and messaging services. Alongside, it will also be able to capture emerging markets in Europe and Asia where there is huge scope for growth in this customer segment. Co-founder Koum will also earn a place in the Facebook board along with receiving handsome stock benefits. According to him, this deal will help WhatsApp focus on steady expansion and growth instead of worrying about a revenue model almost immediately. This will give this app company the flexibility to grow at its pace according to Koum.
WhatsApp’s rejection of Google
In a development that was relatively unknown earlier, news has come to light that WhatsApp had earlier turned down a compelling offer from Google before accepting the winning take-over by Facebook. While there was speculation regarding Google’s plans to buyout the app company, there was never any concrete information on the same. Now that Facebook has snapped up the company in one of the biggest tech deals since 2002 when HP bid $25 billion for Compaq, news of Google’s rejection is making the rounds of the tech circuit.
This has been a thrilling yet shocking development for fans of Google and tech enthusiasts in general. According to the latest tech reports and news, WhatsApp had received a direct offer of up to $10 billion from Google. Alongside, reports also confirm that Larry Page, the Google CEO, did make a final effort even the earlier week! He did have a meeting with Jan Koum, the WhatsApp CEO and tried to entice the latter into a proper deal. He also dangled the independence carrot before Koum in order to get him to accept. However, other news reports state how Koum firmly rejected Google’s deal as he was getting a better one from Facebook along with a place on the company board.
Along with the lower payout amount, there would be no seat on the company board at Google. These were the major reasons for Koum’s rejection of Google’s offer. According to The Information, Google did offer to pay this amount to the popular social media messaging app and in another twist to the tale, even offered to pay additional cash for information on acquisition talks with other companies or firms on part of WhatsApp! On the other hand, Mark Zuckerberg started the process of acquisition discussions and other conversations only about eleven days earlier as confirmed by the man himself. Google’s last ditch effort to keep Koum on board with a proposal for total independence of his firm did not work. It might have been a move targeted to keep Facebook away but failed eventually. Jan Koum and Brian Action, the co-founders of WhatsApp will be laughing their way to the bank after this deal! The story of their struggle is inspiring and comes to a climax with their elevation into the top league of tech startups.
New features churned out by WhatsApp immediately after the deal
Right after it shocked the industry by selling out to Facebook for a staggering $19 billion, WhatsApp has churned out a couple of mint fresh features for its customer base using the Android platform. Firstly, the new update will help users conceal their last seen status or notification from fellow contacts. Alongside, the new update will also help with regard to hiding this from almost everyone or even a few particular contacts or those not present on the chat list or phonebook of any user. While iOS users enjoyed this feature for a long time, these features were being considered over a long time for Android. Since Android makes up the majority of its customer base, the company decided to go ahead with the update right after its new deal with Facebook was announced.
The new features are now present on the Android WhatsApp version, under the privacy settings tab. However, the new features cannot be downloaded from the Google Play store right away. The WhatsApp official website possesses the apk file which must be downloaded by users for this purpose. Alongside, there are some minimum requirements to be followed, i.e. minimum Android 2.1 version or better and unlimited data usage plan. Alongside, this update will only work for Android smartphones and not tablets. Alongside, WhatsApp has also empowered users with regard to concealing their statuses and profile pictures from particular friends, contacts or even unknown people. This will also be visible under the new settings option which itself is enclosed within the account settings tab.
According to WhatsApp’s Jan Koum, nothing much will really change after the acquisition by Facebook. On the contrary, WhatsApp will remain committed to making itself a better and more improved environment for serious users. Alongside, WhatsApp will also operate almost independently with autonomous control over its day to day operations. It will also retain its original headquarters in California’s Mountain View. WhatsApp has been on a roll in recent times. It got a fabulous deal from Facebook, thereby ensuring partial autonomy, board presence, flexibility and the financial muscle to stop worrying about integrating revenue. Alongside, these new features for Android users will certainly bring a smile to the faces of a large section of WhatsApp users!