Whatsapp is a global ad-free app which is paid for. It allows users to send messages to other users for free and is available for Phone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia phones.
The social networking giant has been open about the fact its future growth depends on nailing mobile. A purchase of the business could help Facebook, which makes the majority of its money from advertising, diversify its revenue stream.
Whatsapp’s co-founder Jan Koum appears not to be the greatest fan of advertising, according to a post of his on the company blog:
“Advertising isn’t just the disruption of aesthetics, the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought.
At every company that sells ads, a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining, writing better code to collect all your personal data, upgrading the servers that hold all the data and making sure it’s all being logged and collated and sliced and packaged and shipped out… And at the end of the day the result of it all is a slightly different advertising banner in your browser or on your mobile screen.
Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product.”
Facebook has acquired a lot of small businesses and startups in recent years. The most high-profile of these acquisitions was Instragram, which completed in September, with Facebook paying $730m.