The mobile messaging app war is on – Facebook buys WhatsApp

Facebook announces it buys Mobile Messaging App WhatsApp for $19 billion dollars. WhatsApp has close to 450 million users, and is increasing with an additional million users every day.

As I wrote the other week, LINE is steadily growing in Japan, and is also attracting users all over Asia, Europa and South America. Currently the mobile app has over 350 million users.

Last week, Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten acquired Cyprus messaging app Viber. The app claims to have over 300 million users worldwide. The Next Web talks about Rakuten’s strategy to focus on the growth of mobile messaging platforms – and to be able to achieve the same journey as Line.

Now Facebook seem to be doing the exact same thing. So why the sudden interest in mobile messaging apps?

A change may be coming to the social media landscape. From the key focus having been on open and public communication, people are closing there conversations and return to talking directly to one another, instead of to all their followers / fans / friends on traditional social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. From one-to-crowd conversations back to one-on-one conversations.

But who will win the battle of the users? I currently have four active mobile messaging apps on my phone: Line, WhatsApp, Viber and Skype. (Update: Not to forget iMessage, which is so obvious on the iPhone it’s easy to forget – thanks for the reminder Jocke!) I have different friends and connections I interact with on each and everyone of these apps. Above that, I also have my active acounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+. How many different platforms can one use before it becomes too much? And what would be the next step? One login that works across all platforms  – or one platform that collects all the other social media networks in one place, without taking away the feel and function of each of the separate networks. Or, will one of the above companies win the competition and gain all the users?

It feels like we’re arriving at the next era of social media.


Emelie Fågelstedt

Independent communications strategist supporting organizations with their digital business and communications strategy since 2010. Founder of digital agency Fågelstedt Kommunikation and co-founder of Svenska Nomader, Sweden's largest platform for digital nomads. Public speaker on tech, social media, e-commerce and the future of work.

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