It looks like the billionaires club just got a new inductee as Facebook announces its purchase of WhatsApp for $16 billion. So what is WhatsApp and why did Facebook just drop so much cash on it? If you’re keeping track at home, this is roughly 16 times more than what Zuckerberg spent on Instagram, and that’s because WhatsApp has nearly 450 million active users who use the app as a text-messaging replacement tool to send messages and photos to any of their contacts, regardless of data plan, global location, or text messaging plan, as it avoids texting fees and relies solely on data. Huge around the world, the app is popular mainly for its simplicity; its free to download, free for the first year ($1 a year after that), and ad free (for now). The purchase, according to Zuckerberg, helps Facebook with its project to provide mobile access to the two-thirds of the world not connected, ultimately making the world more open. This also isn’t a purchase to replace Facebook Messenger, but time will tell which app will have staying power. So, will Zuckerberg own two different billion-plus user brands at once? Looks that way.
via The Verge