If you haven’t gotten over the fact that Facebook is paying a stunning $19 billion in cash and stocks for WhatsApp, then you’ll get a kick out of this: Google was ready to offer even more.
Yes, Google, the search engine giant, was willing to pay above and beyond the $19 billion that Facebook shelled out for the cross-platform chat service, according to a report from The Information.
Sometime last year, Google apparently approached WhatsApp, offering the company money for the right to be notified if and when someone else expressed interest to acquire it. The offer was turned down, and as you now know, Facebook later stepped in to buy it. But Google’s involvement didn’t end there.
Google CEO Larry Page reportedly met with WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum last week after learning that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was bidding for the app. Page wanted to counter Zuckerberg’s offer and the way to lure Koum away from the Zuck’s grasp was to tell him that if he chose Google, the company will stay independent as it’s a big threat to Facebook’s own services. But when Page learned that WhatsApp was not interested in its offer, he went to Sequoia Capital, WhatsApp’s investors, and made it clear that he will outbid whatever Facebook offered.
Whatever Google offered, WhatsApp wasn’t interested as they see Facebook as a better match for them. The Information reports that WhatsApp’s owners believed the social giant has a better grasp on things, and they also believed that Google was only interested in them to spite Facebook.
Some are still baffled as to why Facebook was so interested in WhatsApp, one of the probable reasons is that it saw the chat service as a threat and Facebook wanted to keep rivals from acquiring it. But as SiliconANGLE’s Mike Wheatley pointed out, since it’s a cross-platform messaging platform, Facebook can get business intelligence on its users such as what types of phones are used to access the service, what features are popular with users, what features the app needs and users want, their personal information, and other information that could lure them to becoming Facebook users.
Last week, Japanese e-comm giant Rakuten announced its acquisition of Viber. Hiroshi Mikitani, the co-founder and CEO of Rakuten, pointed out that messaging apps are taking over the world as people now prefer to communicate using these apps rather than sending emails or text messages, making messaging app acquisitions a no-brainer. It looks like in order to survive these days, you need to acquire a popular messaging app.
If you’re not happy about the acquisition and you don’t want Facebook getting a hold of your information, check out “Pricy WhatsApp goes to Facebook : Here’s 4 alternatives.”