"One day I want you to become bigger than us in number of users ... What you guys do is a much more common-use case," Mark Zuckerberg (FB +4%) told WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum as they hammered out Facebook's $19B acquisition of the mobile messaging leader, according to a Forbes cover story.
The talks reportedly started after Facebook exec Amin Zoufonoun learned Koum was meeting Google's Larry Page - Google has denied bidding for WhatsApp, and Koum says he got no sign Page was interested in doing so. Zuck initially "offered a range of $15 billion and higher;" Koum pushed for $20B.
Forbes also makes note of WhatsApp focus on speed and simplicity. The company relies on the messaging-centric Erlang programming language and open-source FreeBSD OS, considers features such as stickers and in-app games (embraced by rivals) "junk," and for now is only charging in markets where mobile payments/billing are simple and mature.
Om Malik obseres WhatsApp has been successful striking deals with carriers for service plans that provide access to WhatsApp but no other data services, and that Facebook, contending with a slew of apps that collectively "unbundle" its core services, has been trying to reach similar deals.
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