Nishtha KanalFeb 22, 2014 09:00:01 IST
Facebook may have struck gold with WhatsApp, but it was not the only tech giant vying for the cross-platform messaging app. It’s been reported that Google first offered a humble $10 billion to buy WhatsApp at one point, and then went on to offer to beat Facebook's $19 billion.
Fortune has reported that as Google had offered to pay WhatsApp $10 billion to become a part of its family. The catch, however, was that there would not be a place on the Google board for WhatsApp’s heads, unlike the present scenario where Mark Zuckerberg happily offered them seats on Facebook’s board.
The Information has also reported that Google CEO Larry Page even met up with WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum in a last-ditch effort to stop the sale to Facebook. People involved have reported that Page told Koum to stay independent, as the founders had always planned to. He also reminded Koum that WhatsApp was a big threat to Facebook and joining the bigger company would have a massive impact on “how things play out for the years to come”.
Clearly, Page’s pleas fell on deaf years as WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook, in what is currently the tech deal of the year, for $19 billion. The Information had also previously reported that Google was willing to strike an even weirder deal with WhatsApp a few months ago.
Google was reportedly planning to offer money to WhatsApp, not to buy it, but for the right to be notified if the company was entering into acquisition talks. The deal could have been worth millions of dollars, but WhatsApp rebuffed the offer, only to be acquired by Facebook a few months later.
Koum and team have done a splendid job of building an app with 450 million users, 70 percent of which are active on it any given day. Google and Facebook sparring over the app is only testament to how important mobile is going to be to both the companies in the coming years. Even after the Facebook acquisition, WhatsApp is going to remain independent and continue to function in the same way, bringing the fight to its arch rival – the SMS.
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