You’re a big WhatsApp user. Hey who isn’t. Unlimited texting for $1. Oh wait, you get a free year before you pay that whopping $1. It’s actually 99 cents to be precise. The CEO, Jan Koum, is a great rags-to-riches story. He was raised near Kiev, Ukraine and came to California and had to live on food stamps for some time with his mother. After dropping out of college like so many other successful entrepreneurs, he worked at Yahoo as an infrastructure engineer doing a lot of server setups and network repairs. After Yahoo, the bright light of creating a text message system via the Internet went up and the rest is history.
Mark Zuckerberg has been courting Koum since 2012 and finally sealed the deal on Valentine’s day in 2014. The big concern for Koum going forward is to not have any ads whatsoever. Growing up, his mother and him were paranoid to even use the phone, thinking Big Brother was listening. So, he takes his invention and his paranoia with him, preventing privacy issue with not having any ads. Advertising allows companies to learn consumers’ habits and likes so Koum is against that. With the merger, Zuckerberg is complying with Koum’s non-ad objective although Facebook is a heavy advertiser.
What’s in store for WhatsApp users? Bluntly put, nothing more, nothing less. Koum’s main objective now is get as many subscribers as possible on board. Along with that, he is looking make the messaging service faster and more stable. What Facebook has in store for the app is unknown as of now. I can see Zuckerberg hacking the code to add WhatsApp to be used within Facebook. That way, users will be forced to text within the Facebook app on their phones. Hey, I think for $19 Billion, it’s okay to redirect WhatsApp users to your own app. That is something I’d expect to see. Functionally though, WhatsApp shouldn’t change up too much.