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Facebook To Buy WhatsApp 199

Posted by Soulskill
from the hitting-the-startup-lottery dept.
Facebook has announced an agreement to buy WhatsApp, the mobile messaging platform used by over 450 million people. The deal involves $4 billion in cash and an additional $12 billion in Facebook stock. They say WhatsApp will remain independent; its headquarters won't move, and it will continue to exist separately from Facebook's Messenger app. Mark Zuckerberg indicated they will focus on growth: 'Over the next few years, we're going to work hard to help WhatsApp grow and connect the whole world. We also expect that WhatsApp will add to our efforts for Internet.org, our partnership to make basic internet services affordable for everyone.' On WhatsApp's blog, they say, "Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing. WhatsApp will remain autonomous and operate independently."
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Facebook To Buy WhatsApp

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  • Oh Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Cat (19816) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @05:38PM (#46290641)

    We also expect that WhatsApp will add to our efforts for Internet.org, our partnership to make basic internet services affordable for everyone

    Yet another attempt to control the Internet.

    They're coming. And they will not stop until they own it or destroy it.

    The Internet is humanity's last chance, boys and girls. We lose it and we're looking at 1000 years of darkness.

    • Join the Resistance! Enlightened seeks to enslave us to the .... wait this isn't an Ingress thread is it?

    • Re:Oh Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @09:58PM (#46292287) Journal

      The Internet is humanity's last chance, boys and girls.

      Yep, Skype's gone, and now WhatsApp will be ruined.

      Are there any open and demonstrably secure voice/video chat/IM etc applications in the pipeline that anyone's aware of?

      • Re:Oh Good (Score:4, Informative)

        by alostpacket (1972110) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @11:15PM (#46292541) Homepage

        Was WhatsApp ever secure or open? Wasn't it just a proprietary wrapper for xmpp?

        There are other jabber/xmpp/jingle clients out there. I'm not sure what is the best client but pidgin works well for most things IIRC. Miranda IM may also be worth a look, or Adium. All three are a GPL or similar license I think.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • by Burz (138833)

        RedPhone and TextSecure can do voice and text: https://whispersystems.org/ [whispersystems.org]

      • by itsthebin (725864)
        I have moved over to Line

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
      • Try Threema. Fully encrypted. But not free. And nobody you know will have it, most likely.

        In any case I wonder at so much money paid for an app to which the telecom operators can put an end to in 2 weeks, just by dropping to 0 the price of messaging. Risky, I'd say.

        • by Yaotzin (827566)

          I use WhatsApp and have unlimited free SMS. WhatsApping is useless for me in a 1v1 conversation, but group chats are where the attraction lies. Also my sister isn't officially allowed to send private messages from her work phone, but WhatsApp circumvents that.

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          They're after the user base, and were afraid WhatsApp was becoming to big a competitor. They're no competitor anymore.

          And besides, WhatsApp is more than SMS has on offer - can send photos etc, group chat, whatever. Pretty much everything Facebook is useful for (the News Feed used to be the strong point of Facebook, until they fucked that one up: I get messages posted "one hour ago" a few screen pages deep in my feed, in between day-before-yesterday's messages; plus messages of pages that I like are simply n

      • XMPP, as always, continues to cover everything. Open standard, lots of open source implementations, de-centralized, IM, voice, and video.
        But people will still use whatever has the best marketing.

      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        Check out Threema https://threema.ch/en/ [threema.ch]

    • The hipocrisy on an ONG that want to impose closed protocols with closed source clients is incredible. And people just fall right into it!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @05:38PM (#46290643)

    $16 billion for a messaging app? The end is nigh...

    • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @05:50PM (#46290743)

      No, $16B ($4B, really, who's counting fb stock?) for:

      the mobile messaging platform used by over 450 million people

      ( plus underlying tech, as simple as it is )

      And this promise that nothing's going to change? Laughable. If nothing else it will receive facebook branding (subtle, such as color changes) pretty quickly, and the only reason to build it out further is so that they can reap even further benefits (read: more users) over to facebook at a later point.

      • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @06:36PM (#46291079)

        And this promise that nothing's going to change? Laughable. If nothing else it will receive facebook branding (subtle, such as color changes) pretty quickly, and the only reason to build it out further is so that they can reap even further benefits (read: more users) over to facebook at a later point.

        "Independent"? Nothing will change? LOL. They are in for a big surprise if they actually believe Facebook's line of bullshit. And here's a short piece of one of their blog entries:

        http://blog.whatsapp.com/index... [whatsapp.com]

        Why We Don't Sell Ads

        When people ask us why we charge for WhatsApp, we say “Have you considered the alternative?”

        At WhatsApp, our engineers spend all their time fixing bugs, adding new features and ironing out all the little intricacies in our task of bringing rich, affordable, reliable messaging to every phone in the world. That’s our product and that’s our passion. Your data isn’t even in the picture. We are simply not interested in any of it.

        Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product.

        Now that Facebook has spent $4 Billion Dollars (the $12 Billion in funny money is irrelevant) these guys are in for a rude awakening.

        • by michelcolman (1208008) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @04:47AM (#46293271)

          So this is how you make big bucks on the internet nowadays:

          1. Launch a service that does something people really want without any of the annoyances of other similar services (ads, privacy intrusions,...) and without trying to make much money. Maybe even lose money, who cares.
          2. Get lots of users who appreciate the fact that somebody is finally catering to their needs without constantly trying to milk them for information or bombard them with ads.
          3. Sell to some big company like FaceBook for billions of dollars, which then proceeds to add the usual annoyances like ads and privacy intrusions after having promised not to do so.
          4. Goto 1.

          Rude awakening, you say? I bet they're just yelling "Profit!"

      • ($4B, really, who's counting fb stock?)

        Brian Acton and Jan Koum. [forbes.com]

      • by gsslay (807818)

        I don't think Facebook care if they move users over from WhatsApp or not. They don't care as much about the users as they do about their data. As long as the data can be cross referenced at the back end, then who cares if the end user's front end is totally different?

        This is the way that Facebook needs to evolve. They've realised that teenagers (tomorrow's consumers) don't want to hang out on the social network that their parents use. So you establish/buy/build another social application that has the a

    • by snookiex (1814614)

      The user base is significant (and the private information that comes with it) but I agree that there's a tech bubble many times bigger than the 98's. I wonder how much will the big investors get out of it before it bursts.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      $16 bln for one less serious competitor for your many-times-that empire? Deal.

  • so (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That's pronounced what-a-sap, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    449.99 million people ditched WhatsApp.

  • Not for long.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    WhatsApp is dead... WhatsNext?

  • by future assassin (639396) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @05:52PM (#46290755) Homepage

    Remember where the scores on pinball machines were sane then one day I saw the ST TNG pinball and the score was like in the millions. Was like WTF? The pricing on some of these virtual companies is the same.

    • Virtual companies, virtual currency, virtual value...

  • by mfearby (1653) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @05:55PM (#46290769) Homepage

    ... UNINSTALL! I refuse to have a Facebook account and if Whatsapp starts making it mandatory to have one, then I'll go back to plain old SMS.

    • by Cid Highwind (9258) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @07:00PM (#46291235) Homepage

      Too late, you already have a Facebook account, everyone on the internet does.

      You just don't know the password yet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Thanks to biometric face reading techniques this is true. Any photo of you that is on there has enough biometric data for them to uniquely identify you and who you hang out with. And people can even tag your name to the photo if you don't have an account, so they get a name to match with the biometric data. Then they can know who your friends are and family. are, the places where you go and probably some other stuff. All this because someone took some photos of you and posted them.

    • by JanneM (7445)

      Or move to LINE. That one has almost as many users as WhatsApp already.

      Which leads me to wonder: is Facebook going to play money-bag whack-a-mole with every new social network that shows up? That's going to get expensive really fast.

      • by Shavano (2541114)

        Yes, that is exactly what is going on. That's the only way to put anything like these supposed values on companies that don't produce revenue.

    • by Shavano (2541114)

      If you've used WhatsApp, you already have one.

    • by Burz (138833)

      Use these instead... https://whispersystems.org/ [whispersystems.org]

    • by tgv (254536)

      I've got facebook.com and fbcdn.com and friends blocked. It's surprising how many pages link to one of those sites.

  • by sdinfoserv (1793266) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @05:57PM (#46290777) Homepage
    $16B!! Are they nucking futs? It feels to me – as someone who worked through InetBubbleBurst 1.0 - like FB is flailing at something, anything, using the huge cash cache it’s currently sitting on in a feeble and misdirected attempt at non-relevance. Just proof that huge dollars huge brains.
    • by gordo3000 (785698) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @06:11PM (#46290879)

      nah, seems more like they are throwing cash at every company that mimics in a superior manner any piece of fb people used to use. Chat and images are the big two,
      the problem is, any new company can come along and start the same service, at which point fb will have to buy them as well. this was the story with instagram, they then tried to buy snapchat, and now bought whatsapp.

    • The new and exciting "Smoke Signal" app. 1 puff signals "danger", 2 puffs for the "all clear" and of course 3 puffs for "party at my place".
  • That's why the many millions and billions. We rather need news that financially measures in micro-mills.
    I'm serious.

  • I have never heard of "WhatsApp" ...450 million users?
    • I currently live in Asia. Whatsapp is very, very popular over here.
      A good number of my European contacts are also using it.
      I don't know how popular it is in the USA.
      I find it a very useful piece of software, one of the most used apps on my iphone.
    • by brit74 (831798)
      Here's a map (which is about a year old, to be fair): http://cdn.iphoneincanada.ca/w... [iphoneincanada.ca]

      You'll note that WhatsApp doesn't have a whole lot of usage in the US. It's quite popular in Europe and the South America.
  • There you go (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @06:06PM (#46290835)
    Time to delete my WhatsApp app.
    • by beefoot (2250164)
      I hate to blow your bubble. It is too late. Your personal information has been transmitted to FB and an account has been created for you if you haven't already have one.
      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        Whatsapp has absolutely zero personal information about me at this point in time apart from my phone number (which I change about once a year). I really like how simple and useful whatsapp is however there aint no fucking way I will believe FB spent that much money on an app that loses money and doesn't intend to change anything. but just like the bloat and shit that allowed whatsapp to become successful something else will take its place as FB tries in vain to turn it into a money making business and destr
  • Messaging? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DogDude (805747) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @06:09PM (#46290863) Homepage
    I read the web site, and I still don't understand what this web site is all about. Is it really just yet another messaging platform designed to get around SMS messaging charges? Am I missing something obvious?

    1. There are tons and tons of ways to send messages to people last I checked. Why is this one worth "$16B"?

    2. Who still pays for SMS messages? I've had unlimited texting plans for the better part of a decade, and they're cheaper than most people's cable TV bills. Are text messages significantly expensive outside of the US?
    • Well, people in Europe still suffer from text messages costing money if sent across borders. Anachronistic with a culture that thrives more and more on international communication, but that needs some sort of fix.

      And WA was that fix. Dunno what I'll use now.

    • Re:Messaging? (Score:5, Informative)

      by grantek (979387) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @06:29PM (#46291031)

      It's Jabber, but without the hassle of account creation. Username is automatically set up as your phone number, and password is your IMEI or something.

      So it's about as secure as SMS, but also as practical for technophobes. It's free of charge and allows much more data than SMS (file transfer of pics etc.), which is why people use it.

      • It's Jabber, but without the hassle of account creation. Username is automatically set up as your phone number, and password is your IMEI or something.

        Jabber with the most important part stripped off: de-centralization. And no voice/video support either.

    • Re:Messaging? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mwissel (869864) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @06:32PM (#46291063) Homepage

      No, it's more than yet another SMS replacement.

      It can do cross-mobile-platform IM, group chats, file sharing (video and audio mostly) and as of recent push to talk communication. Also, the phone number is your user account - everyone of your phone contacts will show up in your WA contact list if they use it. Many agree it is the tidies and simplest messenger for mobile platforms around.

      On the downside there is their shitty data protection and blatant security faults in the past. On Android, you can't switch off presence and reading confirmations which is quite unfortunate if your boss or knows your phone number - they will always be able to check when you were last on.

      As much as I'd love to dispose WhatsApp, I have given up any attempt to do so. Once you registered, you can't unregister (or rather, the function does nothing) and people will continue to send you things. I resigned and tell everyone to not send any sensible information over this service and I use a modded Android app (WhatsApp+ ... you can find the project page on Google+) which allows me to hide my online status.

    • International sms costs money and lots if people have friends and family around the world

      And kids are using thesr apps for privacy reasons

    • by mathfeel (937008)
      I use WhatsApp. Two reasons. One, the message seamlessly integrates with insert photos, audio, and video. Traditional SMS does not support those media well. Two, it is very popular out of the US. I have a lot of personal contacts from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Europe. It is nice to have everyone on the same platform. I have no idea about how much international SMS costs.
      Recently (last two years), I have noticed that most of the messaging activities between my contacts and I have be gradually shifting from Wh
    • (I also replied the following elsewhere in this discussion, but it is apt here as well)

      I currently live in Asia. Whatsapp is very, very popular over here.
      A good number of my European contacts are also using it.
      I don't know how popular it is in the USA.
      I find it a very useful piece of software, one of the most used apps on my iphone.
    • by u38cg (607297)
      Two words: established userbase.
    • I read the web site, and I still don't understand what this web site is all about. Is it really just yet another messaging platform designed to get around SMS messaging charges? Am I missing something obvious?

      1. There are tons and tons of ways to send messages to people last I checked. Why is this one worth "$16B"?

      They pay for the userbase.

      2. Who still pays for SMS messages? I've had unlimited texting plans for the better part of a decade, and they're cheaper than most people's cable TV bills. Are text messages significantly expensive outside of the US?

      Yes, outside the US prices vary a lot. I pay, what you'd percieve as 20-50cents per message. I know other countries do have free SMS. Some plans here have free SMS, but they're the extremely expesive ones.

  • When is fuckedcompany.com coming back?

    Or is it just too sad to see that the internet is basically ran by 1/1000th of the amount of manpower in the 90's with 1000X the power/capacity?

  • by mousse-man (632412) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @07:12PM (#46291317) Homepage

    will be that WHEN the bubble blows, only shareholders will be left to hold the bag, not taxpayers (except maybe through bad investment into their retirement funds).

  • by Zanadou (1043400) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @11:35PM (#46292603)
    Somewhere in an office in Seongnam, several members of the KakaoTalk team just crapped their pants.
  • That is ridiculous (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vikingpower (768921) <exercitussolus@g ... om minus painter> on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:54AM (#46292831) Homepage Journal
    $19,000,000,000 for an app that does not make money and has 32 employees. IMHO it shows that Facebook is slowly panicking.
  • Honestly, there should be a viable, easy-to-use alternative to Facebook which respects your privacy and doesn't have shady dealings with a government and isn't run by a functionally retarded man-child. But if there is one, well I don't know about it. And if I don't know about it, then 95% of people don't know about it.

    Same with WhatsApp. It's very useful, but this isn't advanced AI here: it's pretty clear what it does and how it does it. Where is the good, user-friendly, open-source alternative?

    I'm also pis

    • Honestly, there should be a viable, easy-to-use alternative to Facebook which respects your privacy and doesn't have shady dealings with a government and isn't run by a functionally retarded man-child. But if there is one, well I don't know about it. And if I don't know about it, then 95% of people don't know about it.

      I concurs, but sadly, most people don't, and that's why we don't have such an alternative. :(

  • Can anyone suggest alternatives? Free or paid, but equivalent functionality?
    • by guillebot (541194)
      Telegram.org We already did the switch in several big groups. Dunno what I'm going to do with smaller one-to-one relations. Hope they switch also.
      • With that name one can think it's an actual telegram service, e.g. you can send an electronic message that's delivered by mail or courier on the last mile.

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