Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) made headlines over the last 24 hours when they snapped up the messaging application WhatsApp in a record breaking $19 billion deal. Some have balked at the size of the fee that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) were willing to pay for this company which is not a particularly well-known name, while other analysts believe that it will pay off big time for the social media site in the long run.
But the latter of those opinions has been strongly backed up by the emergence of an interesting new angle on this story. It has become increasingly clear that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) unsuccessfully attempted to usurp Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s bid before the deal was struck. There is some difference of opinion on the extent to which Google was willing to put its money where its mouth was, with Fortune stating that they’d made a $10 billion bid for the company, while The Information cites sources close to the corporation that indicate they were even willing to go beyond the offer from Facebook. But what is certain is that one the world’s biggest tech companies was extremely interested in WhatsApp.
Should Apple have bought WhatsApp?
It’s not only Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) that might have taken an interest in the messaging service. There is a strong argument that Apple should have got involved as well, particularly as the world’s biggest brand has nearly $200 billion in cash burning a hole in its back pocket. Apple has vowed to break into new markets this year, after less-than-encouraging financial figures resulted in its share price taking a kicking, and the social media sphere would seem to be an obvious marketplace for the iPhone manufacturer to move into.
Nevertheless, they didn’t and they haven’t, and Facebook has snatched up WhatsApp instead. The interest of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the company indicates what a coup this has been. In retrospect, this would have been an entirely natural purchase for Google, given its strong presence in the mobile sector, and a desire to extend its current presence still further. Mobile technology, whether in smartphone or tablet computing form, has been shown by several studies to be the fastest growing form of technology in history, and as 4G becomes more mainstream the vast mobile commerce market will only grow further.
Google’s mobile desire
While Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) searches completely dominate the desktop domain, and it is hard to imagine a world in which they won’t, mobile is a different kettle of fish. Google needs to find a way to reach the billions who are increasingly using mobile means to surf the Internet, and the importance of this cannot be underestimated.
It is no coincidence that every time you see commercials featuring young people and computers on television, time and time again mobiles and tablets dominate. This is recognized very clearly as being a key demographic, and as mobile technology continues its exponential improvement and take up, it will become an increasingly important market.
It seems a certainty that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) needs to work out an alternative strategy after its WhatsApp failure, and find another similarly suitable acquisition to grasp a bigger slice of the mobile cake. But with few viable options at the moment, Google is likely to bide its time.