It’s always fun and informative to guide our chat into a current topic. In the past week, there’s been a lot of news and speculation about Facebook’s acquisition of the mobile messaging service Whatsapp. We imagine you all have read as much of the media coverage as we have. So, after just a bit of background, we’re going to talk and learn about Whatsapp!

It’s rather easy to see the attraction that Whatsapp holds – 450 million global users on mobile devices. Facebook already has significant penetration on mobile, but what it gets from this deal is half a billion users from which to launch its effort at becoming a competitor in a global market for audiences – many of whom have no internet access other than mobile devices and for whom mobile text message service is just too expensive.

Apparently, mobile providers have missed out on the opportunity, preferring to milk every cent out of declining text messaging service before investigating user preferences. So Whatsapp, a flat-fee $.99 per year service (after the first year, which is free) has enjoyed impressive growth of one million users per day. And something like 70% of Whatsapp users are on the app every day. With numbers like this, who’s to say that Facebook won’t be getting a big bargain on its $16 Bn payout?

Q1) Can the Whatsapp philosophy of ‘no ads, no games, no gimmicks’ survive under Facebook?

Q2) What competitive advantage does Facebook achieve with the Whatsapp deal?

Q3) What are the synergies between Facebook and Whatsapp that add value for users?

Q4) Is this simply a way for Facebook to neutralize a competitive threat?

Q5) What do you think Google and Twitter are thinking, from a competitive standpoint?

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