It's not hard to see the appeal of mobile messaging apps like Whatsapp. In fact, on the day texting turned 20 it serves as a strong indicator that the humble txt is unlikely to see another 20 birthdays.
However, Whatsapp's stellar success has apparently now attracted the attention of the big daddy of social networking – Facebook, and rumours are rife that the two are in talks over a potential acquisition.
Sources “close to the matter” have whispered to TechCrunch that a deal is very much on the cards, though there isn't anything concrete on how advanced negotiations are, and nothing about what sort of price the messaging platform would go for.
It certainly sounds like the kind of move Facebook would go for. With a user count having gone past the one billion mark, Mark Zuckerberg's social networking brainchild is exploring how it can widen its business model to expand its reach still further.
Gobbling up a ready-made chat platform that has proved particularly popular in emerging markets certainly fits that bill. And Facebook will also be interested in the fact that (unlike Facebook), Whatsapp has managed to grow rapidly despite not being a service that's free to use, and not resorting to ads.
A single 99c/99p cost isn't proving any kind of deterrent (especially when it only kicks in after a full year of using the service, as is the case on Android and some other platforms), which means it would give Facebook both revenue and a ready made, upwardly mobile chat platform that already has a global reach and a particularly strong presence in what are likely to be the fastest growing emerging markets over the next five to ten years.
This one sounds like it could be the real deal.