DId Mark Zuckerberg just throw away $19 billion of Facebook shareholder wealth? He bet the farm on the messaging app, but will Whatapp's 450 million users embrace the new owner? Facebook is an advertising company, and even though Zuckerberg has stated that Whatsapp will remain a separate, independent entity many users in Germany are not convinced and are already jumping ship:
Innerhalb eines Tages hat Threema seine Nutzerschaft verdoppelt. Mit der App können Nutzer verschlüsselte Nachrichten schicken. In den vergangenen 24 Stunden hätten knapp 200 000 Smartphone-Besitzer den Dienst installiert, sagte das Unternehmen gegenüber Süddeutsche.de. Damit hat der Dienst nach eigenen Angaben aktuell rund 400 000 Nutzer.
Grund für das kurzfristige Wachstum dürfte die Übernahme von Whatsapp durch Facebook sein. Whatsapp ist in Deutschland mit Abstand die führende App, um Kurznachrichten zu verschicken. Hierzulande nutzen mehr als 30 Millionen Menschen den Dienst. Manche suchen seit dem Facebook-Kauf nach Alternativen (hier ein Überblick).
(In the course of one day Threema has doubled its user base. The app allows users to send encrypted messages. In the last 24 hours at least 200,000 smatphone owners have installed the service, the company told Sueddeutsche Zeitung. So according to its own information the service has 400,000 users. The reason for the short-term growth is the acquisition of Whatsapp by Facebook. Whatsapp is by for the leading messaging app in Germany . Here more than 30 million peopel use the service. After the Facebook announcement many are looking for alternatives. )
Of course 200,000 is a miniscule number, but it could be the tip of the iceberg. Ever since the NSA scandal many Europeans are wary of the Internet giants Google and Facebook, and the Whatsapp deal only intensifies the general paranoia about online privacy.
Cloud-based services are not nearly as "sticky" as operating systems such as Windows or iOS - it is quite easy to switch, and there are other apps out there like Threema that have attractive security features.
So did Zuckerberg make an expensive mistake? Was this a desperate attempt to keep Facebook from becoming another MySpace? Time will tell. There were many critics of his acquisition of Instagram for $1 billion - and that turned out to be a bargain.