WhatsApp worth far more than $19 billion: Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg had good news for worried WhatsApp fans. Facebook will not change WhatsApp's data policy, in which the company does not store the content of messages.


Facebook raised quite a few eyebrows after deciding to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion. But according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he still got it for cheap!

 

"I think that by itself, [WhatsApp is] worth more than $19 billion," he said, in an on-stage interview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on Monday. "If we can do a good job with WhatsApp, grow it, it will be a huge business."

 

And he had good news for worried WhatsApp fans. Facebook will not change WhatsApp's data policy, in which the company does not store the content of messages, and the messenger app will also not be pushed into making any money for the next five years at least, so that it can focus "on connecting people."

 

He also aggressively pitched his Internet.org idea - the ambitious project by Facebook and a slew of partners that aims to get everyone in the world online, saying that this was what had also finally convinced WhatsApp founder Jan Koum to join hands with Facebook. “Why were we excited to do this together? It was the Internet.org vision and how we can connect the world.”

 

Zuckerberg has been selling his Internet.org idea for a while now. Established in August of 2013, CNet describes it as a coalition of mobile technology companies, spearheaded by Facebook, that are working to bring Internet (and Facebook) access to the 5 billion or so people without it.

 

This would essentially involve some basic Internet services that would be free of charge to use — “a 911 for the internet.” According to TechCrunch, "these could be a social networking service like Facebook, a messaging service, maybe search and other things like weather."

 

The TechCrunch report adds:

 

Providing a bundle of these free of charge to users will work like a gateway drug of sorts — users who may be able to afford data services and phones these days just don’t see the point of why they would pay for those data services. This would give them some context for why they are important, and that will lead them to paying for more services like this — or so the hope goes.

 

Zuckerberg said that the most expensive part about owning a smartphone is not the phone, but the data connection, adding that the only way to sell Internet access to those who've never had it is to show them what they're missing.

 

In short what Zuckerberg is pitching, according to CNet, is that "carriers can hook people with free access to Facebook, then upsell them on data plans for access to the broader Internet."

 

The Facebook CEO was also asked about the possible acquisition of Snapchat.

 

According to NBC news:

 

An audience member asked if Facebook will try once again to buy Snapchat, the photo-messaging service that reportedly spurned a $3 billion offer last year.

 

Zuckerberg sat mute, and when the moderator asked him whether he had any comment, he replied simply: "No." The crowd laughed.

 

"After buying a company for $16 billion, you're probably done for a while," Zuckerberg added. (The $19 billion deal includes $3 billion in restricted Facebook stock to be paid to WhatsApp employees who remain at the company for four years, so both $16 billion and $19 billion have been cited as the purchase price.)


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