The worlds of tech and social media are abuzz this evening after news broke that the supposedly struggling Facebook has laid down a significant amount of coin to acquire the global messaging service WhatsApp. Specifically, the offer is for a combined $19 billion, as Facebook will pay out $4 billion in cash and another $12 billion in stock options, while yet another $3 billion is being set aside for restricted stock units. Needless to say, this has been a very nice day for the people working at WhatsApp.
Obviously, now comes the part where the hundreds of millions of people who have been using WhatsApp start to freak out over Facebook taking over and placing ads and videos on top of everything. Mark Zuckerberg wants them all to know that they have nothing to worry about. I assume that he didn’t write this post on his own Facebook page with his fingers crossed.
I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire WhatsApp and that their entire team will be joining us at Facebook.
Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. We do this by building services that help people share any type of content with any group of people they want. WhatsApp will help us do this by continuing to develop a service that people around the world love to use every day.
WhatsApp is a simple, fast and reliable mobile messaging service that is used by over 450 million people on every major mobile platform. More than 1 million people sign up for WhatsApp every day and it is on its way to connecting one billion people. More and more people rely on WhatsApp to communicate with all of their contacts every day.
WhatsApp will continue to operate independently within Facebook. The product roadmap will remain unchanged and the team is going to stay in Mountain View. Over the next few years, we’re going to work hard to help WhatsApp grow and connect the whole world. We also expect that WhatsApp will add to our efforts forInternet.org, our partnership to make basic internet services affordable for everyone.
WhatsApp will complement our existing chat and messaging services to provide new tools for our community. 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.
WhatsApp had every option in the world, so I’m thrilled that they chose to work with us. I’m looking forward to what Facebook and WhatsApp can do together, and to developing great new mobile services that give people even more options for connecting.
I’ve also known Jan for a long time, and I know that we both share the vision of making the world more open and connected. I’m particularly happy that Jan has agreed to join the Facebook board and partner with me to shape Facebook’s future as well as WhatsApp’s.
Jan and the WhatsApp team have done some amazing work to connect almost half a billion people. I can’t wait for them to join Facebook and help us connect the rest of the world.
Perhaps more importantly, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum also issued a statement on his own blog, urging everyone to remain calm and to keep enjoying the app as they have more and more for the past five years.
Almost five years ago we started WhatsApp with a simple mission: building a cool product used globally by everybody. Nothing else mattered to us.
Today we are announcing a partnership with Facebook that will allow us to continue on that simple mission. Doing this will give WhatsApp the flexibility to grow and expand, while giving me, Brian, and the rest of our team more time to focus on building a communications service that’s as fast, affordable and personal as possible.
Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing.
WhatsApp will remain autonomous and operate independently. You can continue to enjoy the service for a nominal fee. You can continue to use WhatsApp no matter where in the world you are, or what smartphone you’re using. And you can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication. There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.
On a personal note, Brian and I couldn’t be more proud to be part of a small team of people who, in just under five years, built a communication service that now supports over 450 million monthly active users worldwide and over 320 million daily active users. They have helped re-define and revolutionize communication for the 21st century, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Our team has always believed that neither cost and distance should ever prevent people from connecting with their friends and loved ones, and won’t rest until everyone, everywhere is empowered with that opportunity. We want to thank all of our users and everybody in our lives for making this next chapter possible, and for joining us as we continue on this very special journey.
This is what I imagine Koum looked like right after he wrote that:
(Original banner images via Getty and Shutterstock)
I want more like this!
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