Thursday, 20 February 2014
It is hard to resist writing something about Facebook's most spectacular acquisition. It is even harder to say anything new, given how much coverage the event got in only a day. Clearly, this young company is not worth $19 billion on its own. But as a piece of technology, it might be just what Facebook needs to preserve its dominance in the social media landscape. It proved to be the most attractive choice from a hoard of copycats and this is by a global population that happens to cover just the right demographic segments. Also, it would have been really horrible if Yahoo!, Microsoft, Twitter or Google would have snapped up WhatsApp in order to fast forward their social networking efforts. The big question is, how will Facebook leverage this new crown jewel? The easy solutions (like putting ads in the messaging service or rising the subscription fee) are out. Can Facebook successfully connect the two platforms to entice WhatsApp users to spend more time on Facebook? Or is it enough to just analyze the huge traffic on WhatsApp to become more efficient in advertising? It is far from obvious how to execute on this acquisition even if strategically it seems to make sense.