Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has just announced that popular cross-platform mobile messaging app, WhatsApp, will become a part of the Facebook in a sale worth US$16 billion in cash and stock. The service, which is used by 450 million people every month, will remain separate from Facebook Messenger, with continued operations of the company to be independent. While this doesn’t rule out future integration with Messenger, for now Facebook would be unlikely to make changes to the service which has over 1 million sign ups every day.
Co-founder and CEO Jan Koum of WhatsApp will join Facebook’s board of directors, while the team behind the service will remain in Mountain View, California.
Koum is quick to reiterate the company’s continued independence, writing in a company blog post that “there would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.” It’s interesting to note that Koum even calls the acquisition a mere partnership, likely in a move to distance the app from Facebook’s reputation of increasing advertising in acquired products. Though Koum is still positive that the acquisition, or partnership, will be positive, stating that it “will give WhatsApp the flexibility to grow and expand, while giving me, Brian, and the rest of our team more time to focus on building a communications service that’s as fast, affordable and personal as possible.”
Zuckerberg is also happy with the acquisition, admiring WhatsApp’s continued pace in moving along the “path to connect 1 billion people”. He also posted on his personal Facebook page that “WhatsApp will complement our existing chat and messaging services to provide new tools for our community.”