The move marks the social giant’s biggest acquisition to date, as Facebook paid $16 billion in cash and stock for the company. In addition, the deal includes another $3 billion in restricted stock units for WhatsApp employees, which will vest over a period of time.
Wow. Congratulations to the WhatsApp team, that’s an amazing deal. $16 billion is a huge amount of money, but Mark Zuckerberg has historically been very clever when acquiring other companies, even at prices that seemed insane at the time (think Instagram, for example).
I think this makes sense for Facebook, clearly they’re interested in reaching WhatsApp’s large user base. For me as a user, unfortunately, it means yet another reason not to trust WhatsApp.
The problem is, right now there’s no clear alternative. The most interesting one is Telegram, but even though their goal to protect their users' privacy is noble and their implementation seems serious, it still smells too much of vaporware to me. They refuse to accept money or show adds, so I’m not clear on how that bodes for its long-term survival. For now, I think it will have to do, but this is obviously a great opportunity for another player to step in. With a serious proposition, they could grab a significant piece of the market.
For a messaging app, being ubiquitous is the ultimate goal of course, which is why WhatsApp has been able to negotiate such a great deal. Being reliable and gaining your users' trust, though, is just as important. We’ll see how it goes.