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Asking the Right Question About the WhatsApp Acquisition

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whatsapp acquisition

From Benedict Evans

Facebook just bought WhatsApp, paying $16bn in cash and stock and $3bn in RSUs. WhatsApp has 450m active users, of which 72% are active every day. It has just 32 NibzNotes34engineers. And its users share 500m photos a day, which is almost certainly more than Facebook.

This is interesting in all sorts of ways – it illustrates most of the key trends in consumer tech today in one deal.

First, it shows the continued determination of Facebook to be the ‘next’ Facebook. It’s striking to compare the aggressive reaction to disruption shown by Google, Facebook and other leading web companies today with how some of their predecessors a decade ago stumbled and lost their way.

Second, the winner-takes-all dynamics of social on the desktop web do not appear to apply on mobile, and if there are winner-takes-all dynamics for mobile social it’s not yet clear what they are. There are four main aspects to this:

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