Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Zuckerberg talks WhatsApp, analysts weigh in

In his keynote address at the Mobile World Congress yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg discussed
Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp. Zuckerberg's social media empire purchased the instant messaging app, which currently reaches a half-billion people, last week to the tune of $19 billion.

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum also spoke at the conference yesterday, announcing plans to add a free voice messaging system. As is, WhatsApp provides unlimited text and short voice messages free for the first year, and 99 cents per year after.

While Zuckerberg and Koum celebrated in a Barcelona nightclub with Psy (yes, of "Gangnam"-fame), tech writers weighed in on the purchase. Was it a smart business decision? Why is WhatsApp worth $19 billion? How did we all miss this? What will Facebook DO with it? I never realized how many think pieces could be written about an app.

I've rounded up some of the different thoughts on the WhatsApp purchase. As for Zuckerberg? I doubt he's reading.

Recode: "Why WhatsApp Is Worth $19 Billion, and Why the Telecom Industry Should Be Afraid"
"In terms of SMS messaging, WhatsApp is already as large as half of all global texting traffic. This means that SMS, the fastest growing telecom application (as opposed to straight transport) is about to be overtaken by a third-party app. With a team of about 50 people in four years — welcome to the new world order."
How WhatsApp revolutionized the industry while staying affordable. This praises Zuckerberg's decision to purchase the "future of mobile messaging."

Forbes: 4 Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From WhatApp's Acquisition
"WhatsApp demonstrated that you can actually acquire users – and keep them engaged – with a marketing budget of $0. By creating an app that simply solved a problem facing millions of users internationally, the founders were able to create traction organically."

Wired: More people use WhatsApp than you think
"In India, there's less legacy clutter, and people are picking the best software -- the ad-free, easy to use, well-designed WhatsApp. It's a no brainer really. Launch Facebook's mobile app, and the first thing you'll see will be a flurry of wall posts from people you barely know and a big juicy ad. It's annoying, and it's something you don't find on WhatsApp."
I think that a lot of Americans like to get into the manageable, middle-class bubble and think that everyone, everywhere can afford iPhones. that is definitely evident in the j-school. This article brings up a valid point, that for people who use cheap smart phones as a computer first, the software choices become different.

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