Facebook bought out WhatsApp on Feb 20, 2014 for a compensation worth $19 billion. That’s a lot of money for an app that offers messaging services for free for the first year on Android and for $1 the year after. That is gauging WhatsApp from a revenues point of view. The value that they add to the lives of their app’s users is beyond the $19 billion. I would say that the deal is worth it, for WhatApp.
The deal is of a higher worth to Facebook. Although Zuckerberg has stated that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are two different apps and that Facebook would work towards keeping the status quo, a merger of WhatsApp into Facebook Messenger is inevitable.
Facebook Messenger is widely used for chatting with your Facebook friends, and WhatsApp for communicating with all of your contacts and small groups of people. Since WhatsApp and Messenger serve such different and important uses, we will continue investing in both and making them each great products for everyone.
– Mark Zuckerberg
The ‘dynamics’ can change any day and ‘business imperatives’ can become a force behind this merger of apps, at any time. It is inevitable.
This development would end up giving the users of WhatsApp a raw deal. Here’s how:
- Contextual ads on Facebook based on your conversation in WhatsApp
- Video ads, being tested by Facebook, will pop-up on your timeline based on the videos that you share on WhatsApp
- (God forbid) Barrage of messages when you log on to Facebook and WhatsApp messages would be pushed to Facebook Messenger
- Your data, that you tried prying away from Facebook, goes to Facebook [I am not an anti-Facebook activist :)]
- In the name of convergence, like Google, Facebook delves right into your personal realm, deeper!
- A log-in through Facebook entry barrier would essentially kill the golden goose
I am not being cynical here, just stating what I believe would be the roadmap for these two products.