Leading social media giant Facebook has all but solidified its commitment to the growing mobile universe. Recently, they shelled out a whopping $19 billion for the mobile messaging service that has been picking up subscribers at a breakneck pace since WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum left Yahoo! to start the company in 2009.
What’s the big deal with WhatsApp, you ask? The pace at which they were growing before Facebook’s acquisition was more than enough to turn heads and open checkbooks. In Aug 2012, the three-year-old company was already handling ten billion mobile texts per day, all without being yoked to some telecom giant’s phone lines.
And herein lies the key of why the acquisition is so important for Facebook – despite the price tag. All numbers and symbols point to mobile as the dominant form of web access in the short years to come, which means that whatever tech company driven by advertising can get in on the ground floor, stands a great chance of ruling the airwaves. It surfaced later that Google tried to purchase WhatsApp for $10 billion a little while ago, but was “Snapchatted” with what was apparently a low-ball offer.
Although WhatsApp-Facebook is in serious competition with other mobile messaging services in China and elsewhere, they have a solid user base in China, Brazil and several other large nations. When one looks deep into the bowels of charts on user-interaction, it becomes clear that when people aren’t surfing the web, they’re messaging each other. Facebook may very well have just purchased themselves irretrievably into your lives for the foreseeable future.