Update: TheInformation is reporting that Google was willing to beat Facebook’s $19 billion offer. More behind a paywall here.
Google tried to buy messaging service WhatsApp for $10B prior to Facebook’s successful $19B bid, according to two separate sources cited by Fortune. It has also been reported that Google had earlier offered WhatsApp “millions of dollars” simply for the right to be informed if WhatsApp received an offer from anyone else, an offer the messaging company turned down.
The size of the offers seem almost incredible given that the app is free and has no ads. Its entire revenue stream depends on users signing up to a 99c annual subscription after their first year, giving it – at present – a revenue ceiling of $450M a year.
But it’s likely that WhatsApp’s real appeal was it provides access to a core market for the future: mobile-first users in developing markets … expand full story