A report over the weekend detailed that Facebook (News - Alert) had begun talks with the WhatsApp messaging service, which may cause some big changes coming to the market. Naturally, all of this is still in the earliest stages, but Facebook may well have its eye on WhatsApp thanks to its impressive growth and its sheer volume of message handling.
WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging service that allows mobile device users to talk back and forth, while at the same time allowing for the transmission of images, audio and video as well. It's also the number one app in 114 countries, while being a top five app in 145 countries. Indeed, the use of WhatsApp appears to be so extensive that in some countries, the Netherlands among them, SMS volume is dropping nationwide. Reports suggest that AT&T and Verizon (News - Alert) both moved SMS services into a mandatory part of their new smartphone plans specifically to fend off services like WhatsApp, which may cue a drop in the SMS market in the United States starting in 2013.
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For its part, WhatsApp announced back in October of 2011 that they were processing fully one billion messages a day. WhatsApp came back in August of this year to report that that number had gone up...to 10 billion messages a day. That kind of massive gain can't be lost on Facebook, and has already prompted some to wonder just what Facebook has in mind for this service.
Facebook is already a force to be reckoned with when it comes to messaging. If Facebook should pick up WhatsApp the resulting combination would make a force powerful enough to turn the entire market on its ear. WhatsApp has already been spotted shutting down messaging app services throughout Europe, the Americas and several other places, but a WhatsApp / Facebook combination might be disastrous even for mobile service providers, who have, as mentioned, already started changing their price structures to reflect the influx of WhatsApp users. Moreover, it would also prove to be a punch in Google's (News - Alert) collective gut, as Google has been having problems getting a messaging platform fully operational.
With a mobile messaging platform already doing brisk business, and a mobile messenger shutting down competitors worldwide, the coalition of WhatsApp and Facebook could do some serious damage in the mobile service provision sector and turn an already unstable market on its head.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman