Search giant Google may do a billion-dollar acquisition by snapping up popular instant messaging (IM) app WhatsApp, according to international tech blog Digitaltrends. The report says that WhatsApp is jockeying for a higher acquisition price, which currently is close to $1 billion.
If the deal takes place, it will be a big move by Google in the mobile space and will be the second such deal after Facebook snapped up Instagram in a similar sized deal.
However, such deal rumours are dime a dozen in the tech world. Earlier, Facebook was rumoured to be on the hunt to acquire WhatsApp. However, an e-mail response from WhatsApp to a Techccircle.in query on the development said, "The reported story is a rumour and not factually accurate. We have no further information to share at the moment."
We have sent an e-mail query to WhatsApp Inc. for an official word on the latest buzz and will update the report when we get a response.
So what does Google Inc. get from WhatsApp? Note while Google relies on ads, WhatsApp is an ad-free application (could it just try and push while keeping the app free to download and use).
But then, the WhatsApp teams hate ads so much that they have also written about it in the company's official blog and it reads: No one wakes up excited to see more advertising, no one goes to sleep thinking about the ads they'll see tomorrow. No one jumps up from a nap and runs to see an ad. Advertising isn't just the disruption of aesthetics; it's the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought. At every company that sells ads, a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining, writing better code to collect all your personal data, upgrading the servers that hold all the data and making sure it's all being logged and collated and sliced and packaged and shipped out."
WhatsApp was founded by Brian Acton and Jan Koum (both Yahoo veterans) back in 2009. The company is backed by Sequoia Capital which invested $8 million in the startup early last year.
As per Google Play data, WhatsApp has been downloaded 100-500 million times and has a 4.6 star rating. Even on the iTunes Store, it is currently (and has been for a long while) the number one paid app. The company also crossed a significant milestone last October, when over a billion messages were sent using the app in a single day (that means 11,574 messages a second).
The market for instant messaging apps has been growing at a fast clip. One local startup that has caught on to the trend is the mobile group messaging service firm GupShup Technologies . It launched a messenger app two months ago. Another product comes from Bharti Softbank (BSB), a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Japanese internet firm Softbank Corp, which launched Hike, a peer-to-peer (P2P) messaging app that uses both data and SMS to deliver messages. It has been getting lot of traction lately.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)