Digital Trends is reporting that Google is in talks with WhatsApp about a potential acquisition. It seems WhatsApp is pushing for a $1 billion valuation.
WhatsApp is a private company and doesn’t share subscriber information but the industry believes they should have about 300 million active users. December 31 2012, they processed 18 billion messages. WhatsApp is one of the most popular platform agnostic messaging systems with deep penetration in Europe and Latin America.
Why would WhatsApp consider selling? No one knows for sure but I believe it may be because of strong competition from Asian providers such as WeChat (China) and Kakao Talk (Korea). Competing with these fast growing competitors may be costly and WhatsApp may be looking for a new owner with deep pockets.
If Google can acquire WhatsApp, it would be a major blow to Facebook who is trying to catch up to the Instant Messaging train.
WhatsApp has always been an ad free app and it would be interesting how consumers would react to a Google owned WhatsApp with advertisements. Many users chose WhatsApp because it was an independent player and IM was one piece users didn’t want to provide to Facebook or Google for data mining.
It is safe to assume some users will be disgruntled and leave.