Rumor has Google close to buying WhatsApp for $1B

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2014
Google is said to be well into negotiations with the team behind WhatsApp, with the search giant reportedly considering a $1 billion price tag for the popular cross-platform messaging app.

whatsapp


Sources reportedly close to the negotiations tell Digital Trends that Google is looking to acquire the popular messaging app, and that WhatsApp's team is "playing hardball," holding out for an acquisition price close to $1 billion. Bringing WhatsApp into the fold would likely provide Google with a faster route to unifying its disparate messaging services ? Google Voice, Google Hangouts, Google Talk, etc ? making it more capable of competing in the communication segment against Internet rival Facebook.

Such a service unification may be high up on Google's priorities list right now. Rumors have the search leader working on a project known as Babble, which would provide cross-platform communications between its services. The rumored WhatsApp negotiations could be a means of bringing an accomplished team into Google's own operations, as Google did when it acquired popular iOS mail app Sparrow in July.

Google is said to have approached WhatsApp in the past, broaching the topic of an acquisition in early December. Around the same time, Facebook was also said to be considering buying WhatsApp.

WhatsApp has proved immensely successful in the time since its release, netting tens of millions of users across Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Apple's iOS platform. It is currently the second-most popular paid app in Apple's iTunes App Store, and the service saw 18 billion messages transmitted this past New Year's Eve.

Eschewing advertisements, WhatsApp has managed to pull in considerable revenues with a simple yearly subscription fee of $1. iPhone users pay that fee upon first downloading the app, though recent rumors have the service moving to a model more in line with its incarnations on other platforms. Users on other platforms can download and use the app for free for the first year before being presented with the option to pay a $1 per year subscription fee. While WhatsApp has not released any details on its financial operations, Digital Trends' source says the company may be pulling in roughly $100 million in revenue.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    Huge user base. Terrible iOS app.
  • Reply 2 of 53
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    ireland wrote: »
    Huge user base. Terrible iOS app.

    I've never seen its equal in ugliness.
  • Reply 3 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    I've never seen it's equal in ugliness.


     


    Yeah, a whole mess of features, and a huge mess of a UI.


     


    Frankly, I think there's room for a decent cross platform iMessage-esque messaging platform. With a unique no-sign-up process, where the user just chooses a username, and that username becomes like their phone number. So when you meet people they might say "what's your ____" (name of platform fill in blank)


     


    There would also be a unique way of adding friends (you would need to be friends to get messages through). When you add a friend they receive a message saying @____ wants to be your friend.


     


    So the platform would be spam-free and it would be so easy to create a username that they'd become practically throwaway. And if you really wanted to guarantee you'd keep your username you could add your e-mail.

  • Reply 4 of 53
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member


    And yet, it's the best cross-platform messaging app. It'll be a shame if Google buys it up.

  • Reply 5 of 53
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 826member
    ireland wrote: »
    Huge user base. Terrible iOS app.

    The worst part is that the ios app is still miles better than apps on other platforms.

    But they have a tremendous user base.
  • Reply 6 of 53
    sipsip Posts: 210member


    My wider extended family all use WhatsApp (on iOS) and they keep asking if I am on WhatsApp, so I paid for it, installed it, deleted it. Battery hog.

  • Reply 7 of 53
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Tell me those screenshots aren't from the app itself.

    That is the complete antithesis of everything that Apple stands for.

    No wonder Google wants it...
  • Reply 8 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sip View Post


    My wider extended family all use WhatsApp (on iOS) and they keep asking if I am on WhatsApp, so I paid for it, installed it, deleted it. Battery hog.



     


    The UX is easily the better reason. It's REALLY annoyingly bad.

  • Reply 9 of 53
    WhatsApp is incredibly successful in the UK.

    Though it does drain the battery very fast
  • Reply 10 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GTR View Post



    Tell me those screenshots aren't from the app itself.



    That is the complete antithesis of everything that Apple stands for.



    No wonder Google wants it...


     


    To be fair, Google can change the UI, and the feature set. They can change everything about the app. They bought it for the user base.

  • Reply 11 of 53
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member


    What's the betting the rebrand this Gmessage

  • Reply 12 of 53
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    ireland wrote: »
    To be fair, Google can change the UI, and the feature set. They can change everything about the app. They bought it for the user base.

    Wouldn't that put it at odds with the complete mess that is the Android UI though?

    ;)
  • Reply 13 of 53
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member


    Google getting involved?


     


    Nice knowing you, WhatsApp. 

  • Reply 14 of 53
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    ireland wrote: »
    What's the betting the rebrand this Gmessage

    I was thinking "What's App, G?"
  • Reply 15 of 53
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Such a service unification may be high up on Google's priorities list right now. Rumors have the search leader working on a project known as Babble, which would provide cross-platform communications between its services. 


     


    Sounds like somebody who never went to church, misheard "Babel", a name that would be far more appropriate for a cross-platform communication service.


     


    Although I guess Babble would be a cute take-off.

  • Reply 16 of 53
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,799member
    I am surprised they went with WhatsApp instead of an app called Line. It is hugely popular now and allows text as well as voice. Very clean interface and easy to use.
  • Reply 17 of 53
    I'm not sure if I quite understand this acquisition. Google's own developers could easily built its own cross platform messaging system in less than a month and therefore save Google $1B. This would be a GIANT waste of money.

    I'm also not sure if I understand the draw of Whatsapp. SMS does practically the same thing and where that fails, Facebook messenger orMSN messenger fills in the gaps. Is Whatsapp just like a cross platform version of iMessages? I really don't get it.
  • Reply 18 of 53
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    kdarling wrote: »
    Sounds like somebody who never went to church, misheard "Babel", a name that would be far more appropriate for a cross-platform communication service.

    Although I guess Babble would be a cute take-off.

    It's a messaging service. That means people use it to communicate. The word babble, although oft used pejoratively, does means to talk rapidly and continuously. Then you have the word Babel which comes from the biblical story of the infamous tower in Babylon. I think it's highly likely it's a combination of both uses and not someone at Google spelling it wrong. Hearing it wrong in church makes no sense since both are homonyms |?bab?l| in modern English.

    Bonus answer: There is no known etymological connection between the words babble and Babel despite both relating to language and speech. It looks to be a happy accident.
  • Reply 19 of 53
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    HOORAY! BRAVO!


     


    I want to keep seeing Google rack up those billions. They're playing roulette with their life savings.

  • Reply 20 of 53
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,171member
    HOORAY! BRAVO!

    I want to keep seeing Google rack up those billions. They're playing roulette with their life savings.

    They're far from broke, with $48 Billion in cash as of the last quarter.
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