WhatsApp: Facebook’s springboard to international influence

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WhatsApp may not be well known to U.S. users, but make no mistake: Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of the messaging app is a huge deal. WhatsApp is largely popular internationally, and as Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call Wednesday afternoon, has the chance to grow past 1 billion users.

WhatsApp has more than 450 million monthly active users — 70 percent of whom are active on a given day. WhatsApp users, some of whom pay a nominal fee to use the app on a subscription model, are growing by 1 million users per day. They send more than 19 billion messages per day and receive more than 34 billion per day. 600 million photos, 200 million voice messages and 100 million video messages are sent through WhatsApp every day.

But AppData’s revenue estimates show just why Facebook acquired WhatsApp. According to AppData’s revenue estimates for the Android app, just 8.2 percent of WhatsApp’s global revenue so far this year has come from the U.S., compared to 73.3 percent in Germany and 18.5 percent in the U.K.

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Facebook acquires WhatsApp for $16 billion

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Facebook may have failed in its bid to acquire popular messaging app Snapchat, but the social network announced Wednesday that it has closed a deal to buy WhatsApp for roughly $16 billion.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, posted to his Facebook page how WhatsApp will work with Facebook:

WhatsApp will continue to operate independently within Facebook. The product roadmap will remain unchanged and the team is going to stay in Mountain View. Over the next few years, we’re going to work hard to help WhatsApp grow and connect the whole world. We also expect that WhatsApp will add to our efforts forInternet.org, our partnership to make basic internet services affordable for everyone.

WhatsApp will complement our existing chat and messaging services to provide new tools for our community. Facebook Messenger is widely used for chatting with your Facebook friends, and WhatsApp for communicating with all of your contacts and small groups of people. Since WhatsApp and Messenger serve such different and important uses, we will continue investing in both and making them each great products for everyone.

WhatsApp had every option in the world, so I’m thrilled that they chose to work with us. I’m looking forward to what Facebook and WhatsApp can do together, and to developing great new mobile services that give people even more options for connecting.

WhatsApp’s brand will be maintained (and ad free, according to the company) and CEO Jan Koum will join Facebook’s board of directors.

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Facebook acquires Branch, will form ‘Conversations’

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Facebook has acquired link-sharing service Branch, according to the company’s co-founder, Josh Miller. The Verge reports that the deal is worth about $15 million.

Branch makes it easier for friends to talk about news and current articles, and share the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or anywhere on the web. Branch’s team will stay in New York, Miller said, and form Facebook’s Conversations group, with the goal of helping people connect with others around shared interests.

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Facebook closes acquisition of Little Eye Labs

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Facebook has officially acquired Bangalore-based startup Little Eye Labs, the company’s website announced. Little Eye Labs makes a tool that can track and fix performance issues with Android apps. The acquisition should bolster Facebook’s Android applications, which received overhauls in 2013.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources told TechCrunch previously that the deal was worth between $10 million and $15 million.

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Facebook acquires SportStream

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Not long after entering a partnership with sports second-screen developer SportStream, Facebook decided to acquire the company. Both sides announced recently that SportStream will join Facebook. Terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition will help Facebook capture the real-time discussion around sports, something that Twitter still excels in.

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Lynx Equity acquires Facebook PMD Majestic Media

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Majestic Media, a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer in apps, was recently acquired by Toronto-based private equity firm Lynx Equity. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Facebook SPMD Brand Networks acquires PMD Optimal

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Brand Networks, a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer, announced recently that it has acquired Optimal — a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer — in an effort to expand Brand Networks’ social advertising capabilities. Brand Networks acquired Optimal for $35 million.

Optimal recently won acclaim from Facebook, earning the top prize in Facebook’s PMD Innovation Competition with its Open Signals product, which takes into consideration several factors when managing an ad campaign.

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Facebook acquires mobile data startup Onavo, branches into Israel

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Mark Zuckerberg’s goal to make the world more open and connected got a bit of a boost when Facebook on Sunday acquired Onavo, a mobile application data startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel and Palo Alto, Calif.

Terms of the deal were not discussed. Facebook will move into Onavo’s Tel Aviv office, becoming the social network’s Israel headquarters. It appears that the Onavo team will be integral in the major goal of Internet.org — providing Internet access to those around the world not connected.

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Facebook acquires startup Mobile Technologies, maker of mobile translation app Jibbigo

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Facebook’s mobile push is getting stronger, as the company acquired Mobile Technologies, the team behind mobile (iOS and Android) voice translation app Jibbigo. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to AppData, Jibbigo is the No. 28 highest-grossing iOS travel app.

Facebook will take most of Mobile Technologies’ team and have them work in the Menlo Park, Calif. campus, according to Jibbigo.

Facebook Director of Product Management Tom Stocky confirmed the acquisition in a post:

It has always been our mission to make the world more open and connected. Although more than a billion people around the world already use Facebook every month, we are always looking for ways to help connect the rest of the world as well. Voice technology has become an increasingly important way for people to navigate mobile devices and the web, and this technology will help us evolve our products to match that evolution. We believe this acquisition is an investment in our long-term product roadmap as we continue towards our company’s mission.

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With acquisition of Atlas complete, Facebook looks to improve ad measurement

atlasFacebook COO Sheryl Sandberg shared today on the company’s first quarter earnings call that its acquisition of Atlas from Microsoft closed last week and that she welcomed the team to Facebook today.

Atlas Advertiser Suite is a platform that advertisers and agencies use to plan, manage, track and optimize their digital marketing. Facebook agreed to buy the platform and Seattle-based team from Microsoft at the end of February.

Sandberg said Atlas is important for its measurement capabilities, not its potential to power an ad network, which many have speculated about. She said Facebook has “no plans” to create an ad network to serve Facebook ads on third-party sites. Atlas will continue to be a tool for advertisers to measure the effect of their online ads on Facebook and other platforms.
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