People are still getting over the fact that Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stocks, but the drama regarding this acquisition hasn’t died down.
When the deal was made public, reports emerged that Google was also desperate to acquire WhatsApp, and was even prepared to offer more than Facebook. Unfortunately for Google, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum rejected its offer, saying that the search giant was only interested in the company to spite Facebook and not to develop the service. That’s why WhatsApp declined Google’s offer and went for Facebook, or so the story went. But according to Google, that couldn’t be further from the truth…
Speaking at the Mobile World Congress, Google’s Sundar Pichai said that none of the reports were true and that the company was never outbid by Facebook. Pichai also praised WhatsApp for its achievements, and revealed that Google was previously approached by the company in an effort to work more closely together.
“Whatsapp was definitely an exciting product,” Pichai said. “We never made an offer to acquire them. Press reports to the contrary are simply untrue.”
Will this finally end all the hoopla about the acquisition? Probably not, but at least Google has finally said something about all the rumors involving it and WhatsApp.
Also at MWC, Koum revealed that he intends to grow WhatsApp’s user base from one to two billion users, and to help it achieve that goal, voice calling will be introduced to the service by April this year.
As for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he values WhatsApp more than the price he paid for the company, as he believes that it is “quite a good bet” to be one of the world’s major communications firms in the future. Zuckerberg added that, “I could be wrong. It could be the one service that reaches 1bn [users] and doesn’t become valuable.”
It’s hard to tell right now if WhatsApp will remain significant for years to come. No doubt there’ll be a few who decide to abandon the service just because it’s been swallowed up by Facebook, but whether or not enough will do so to affect it’s fortunes remains to be seen.