I still have a hard time getting my head around the fact that lines of code can be worth $19 billion, but EU regulators have approved the Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp, the widely used cross-platform messaging app. WhatsApp is a really popular app and currently has over 500 million users. It functions over a data connection, so if you get your friends using it you can stop paying for that painfully overpriced SMS and MMS plan of yours, and, at the root of it, it basically does the same thing as Facebook Messenger.
The regulators are quoted as saying,
“We have carefully reviewed this proposed acquisition and come to the conclusion that it would not hamper competition in this dynamic and growing market,”
To be honest I sort of agree. I use Facebook Messenger in a very different way than I use WhatApp – even though they essentially do the same thing. The decision effectively boils down to the opinion of the regulators that Facebook and WhatsApp are “not close enough competitors.”
There has, however, been a large amount of opposition from the EU’s service providers saying that this merger would give one company far to much control of the $120 billion messaging market, but I’d wager they just don’t want people to realize they are literally over charging you for SMS and MMS services. The EU regulators maintained that consumers have plenty of choice in messaging applications.
What does this mean for the WhatsApp that you know and love? Well, probably not too much. It will get taken under the Facebook umbrella and things under their hood will get tinkered with, but it will drive just the same and maybe function a little better. One thing different is that Facebook will most likely have access to the data which you give/gave WhatsApp, so that’s something to think about. I highly doubt, though, that WhatsApp will merge with Facebook Messenger, so if you swear by WhatsApp for messaging, don’t worry, your little green square won’t be won over by the little blue square.