Facebook to Acquire WhatsApp

This has to be about users and not technology, resources or anything else…

I saw this the other day and it really made my jaw drop. I wasn’t surprised that Facebook made the acquisition. I was surprised at how much Facebook paid for the organization. The total deal is worth $19B – $4B in cash, $12B in stock and $3B in restricted stock for the founders and other employees.  The restricted shares vest over period of four or so years.  The deal also provides WhatsApp founder Jan Koum with a seat on Facebook’s Board of Directors.

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WhatsApp is an instant messaging app that sends messages over a data connection as opposed to GSM or CDMA.  Because the app sends text messages as data over your smartphone’s data connection, they don’t count against your text messaging limit.  The app claims to have over 450M active users, and is signing up users at the rate of one million a month.  That’s a lot of users…

WhatsApp is similar to Apple’s iMessages platform which sends text messages via an iPhone’s data connection and not a cellular connection to avoid being double charged for the message.

Google also made an offer of $10B for the company, but was ultimately turned down.  Google wanted to make certain that it didn’t get surprised with the WhatsApp deal as it did with Instagram when Facebook snatched it out from under them in 2012.  They were so determined to insure that this didn’t happen that they were willing to pay millions for to WhatsApp in what’s being called a “right of notice” offer. I can’t find out if that agreement was actually consummated or not.  However, Google wanted the right to be notified if another company entered into acquisition talks with WhatsApp; and again, they were willing to pay millions for that. In this case, it likely would have been a waste of money for Google.  Facebook’s offer was nearly double what Google had proposed.

From what I’ve been able to see so far, Facebook plans to leave WhatsApp alone. They did the same thing with Instagram when they acquired them in 2012. They purchased the asset, with the intent of doing – something – with it later.  What that is, and how Facebook might actually make money from or with that asset has yet to be determined.

When I heard about this, I thought, “well, WhatsApp is going to be the new Facebook Messenger,”  but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Facebook Messenger, Facebook’s own text messaging app, isn’t going anywhere.  Some analysts think the acquisition supports Facebook’s strategy to be dominant in the mobile world.  They want to be a go-to company for mobile apps and messaging, especially in emerging markets.  Some analysts thing this is a survival tactic.  WhatsApp is strong in Europe and South America, where it enjoys approximately 80% market penetration in countries like Brazil, Germany, Portugal and Spain.  It is, in fact, the largest mobile messaging service in India, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa, according to Engadget.

What do you think? Is this a good buy for Facebook?  Will WhatsApp really continue to function independently as Instagram does, or will Facebook actively try to do something with the app sooner rather than later?  I’d really like to hear what everyone else thinks.  Why don’t you give me your thoughts on the matter in the discussion area, below?

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Google Kills off Google Apps Standard

Current users and domains won’t be effected, but the free version of Google Apps is gone.

Back in 2008 when Google introduced Google Apps, their online Office Suite, it came in two different versions.  Small businesses and those Gmail users that wanted to implement a custom mail domain (50 users or less) without having to set up a dedicated mail server or incurring any additional expense could use Google Apps Standard.  Larger groups (51 or more users) were required to pay a subscription fee and use Google Apps for Business.  Today, Google Apps Standard was discontinued.

Current users of Google Apps Standard won’t have to subscribe.  Google Apps Standard is still free for educational customers. New users will need to subscribe to Google Apps Premium.

I am a current Google Apps Standard user for my personal site, iTechGear.org. I rarely use any of the office suite apps. I use it mainly for Gmail and a customized email address (xxxxx@itechgear.org).  Users that want to use Google Apps for that, who are not educational customers, must now pay for Google Apps for Business.

Pricing for Google Apps for business can be seen here.  Basically, its $5 per user per month or $50 per user a year.  That includes 25GB of Gmail storage and 5GB of Google Drive Storage.  You can also use a customized email address if you wish.

For casual users like me, this would be a bit pricey. I wouldn’t choose this option if I had to do this now.  For small businesses and one to two man operations, this isn’t a good option, in my opinion. Thankfully, I’m grandfathered in…for now. This is likely not the end of this type of move by Google, either. There are a number of Google Standard users out there, and I think it’s only a matter of time before they get move to the Google Apps for Business realm and will be required to pay a subscription or lose their use of the service.

Time will tell, however; and until then, I’m glad I got in early.

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Google to announce Chrome Laptops

Google is about to announce a new Chrome laptop in a $20 a month “student package” which includes both hardware and online services. Google are striking while the iron is hot as it would go hand in hand with their Google Apps which is a Microsoft Office-like suite of products that is sold to businesses for $50 a year.

Bundle this with a super-inexpensive Chrome laptop and market it like mobile phones are and it could be a money-making machine for Google.

Well, this is cheaper than buying any other laptop.

Even part-time working student could easily afford $20 a month for a Chrome-based laptop.

Well, to me, it definitely doesn’t sound like a good deal for a primary computer, but for a secondary computer that has built-in mobile internet, it sounds like a good deal, especially for students.

Source: Forbes

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