What is the answer to the following question: Who owns WhatsApp?
Who owns WhatsApp? This may sound like a simple question, but in reality, many different answers depend on your definition of what “owns” means. If you use who runs it or created it as your definition for “own,” then Facebook and their CEO Mark Zuckerberg would be considered the owners. But if you use who pays for it or provides apps to run it as your definition, then Facebook’s competitors such as Apple and Google would also be considered the owners. The answer to this question is complicated and nuanced, which is why we’re taking a look at it in detail here today.
Who Owns WhatsApp?
Whatsapp, a messaging app that allows people to chat with their friends and family across many different platforms, is owned by Facebook. Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion back in 2014. What this means is that Facebook now holds the second-largest social network in the world. But WhatsApp had a co-founder who still earns a hefty sum of money from his share of the company – around $2.2 million per year. That’s more than I make in a year! This blog will talk about how Whatsapp became so successful and how its co-founder continues to profit from it every year.
Whatsapp, a Facebook Company
WhatsApp is the largest mobile messaging application in the world, with over 1 billion users. It was created by Jan Koum and Brian Acton in 2009 and bought by Facebook in 2014 for $16 billion in cash. (Source: WSJ)
If you ask your grandparents who invented the cellphone, they’ll probably tell you about a friend of their dad. If you ask your grandchildren who invented the cellphone, they’ll likely tell you about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, but users still received access to the chat platform for free. WhatsApp has over 1 billion monthly users but has been compared to SMS regarding messaging efficiency. But WhatsApp is, in part, a direct competitor to Facebook itself.
WhatsApp’s Founder Still Earns $2.2 Million Per Year.
Jan Koum founded WhatsApp and Brian Acton in 2009 under the name “Beats Music” and built around a social music locker service. Koum was a vice president at Yahoo, and Acton had sold his startup MessageLabs to Cisco. The service soon launched in 2011, and once Apple also integrated voice calling in their iPhone 4S, the app soared in popularity. The company was sold to Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion in cash and stock. Acton made $1.3 billion in the sale.
Koum remained with the company as the Chief Technology Officer and also took a seat on the board. After the sale, Koum received $4.1 million in cash and $4.1 million in restricted stock, while Acton received $3 million and $3 million in restricted stock.
WhatsApp’s CEO Can Leave Whenever He Wants
WhatsApp’s CEO Jan Koum is leaving his role at the company. After being at WhatsApp for five years and being one of the founders of the messaging service. Facebook bought the company in 2014 and later merged it with its other subsidiary Instagram in 2017. This came at a massive price to Koum, who had been expecting an extra equity pay-off. According to reports, Koum left with the unvested WhatsApp shares and stock options from Instagram, worth about $3.1 billion.
Koum had been feeling uncomfortable with the direction of the company ever since Facebook acquired it in 2014. The Facebook app on a mobile device copied the WhatsApp app’s features to the point that he felt like he had to be an advisor to the company to help them avoid copycat apps.
Who was the original owner of WhatsApp?
The most popular theory floating around is that WhatsApp was created by Brian Acton, a former Facebook executive. Acton sold a startup called Tellme Networks to Google for $800 million in 2007, and then, in 2013, he quit to join Facebook. In March 2014, Acton left Facebook and joined WhatsApp as its Chief Operating Officer. In September 2014, Acton became the CEO of WhatsApp after Facebook bought the messaging company for $19 billion.
Was WhatsApp initially started to compete with Facebook?
This is one of the more interesting theories about WhatsApp’s origins. Many people on social media and websites claim that it was designed as a competitor to Facebook because the two companies were already running into competition at the time.
Why Facebook bought WhatsApp
After acquiring Instagram for a cool $1 billion last year, Facebook became the world’s first company with a valuation of over $1 trillion.
But to keep rising to new heights, Facebook needed to expand into new markets and expand their reach into every possible segment of our online world. They were particularly keen to expand into the $400 billion global mobile messaging markets. WhatsApp has over 450 million users and has grown like wildfire over the past few years.
That’s why in February of this year, Facebook announced that it had agreed to buy WhatsApp for a staggering $19 billion. The transaction closed in early April.
WhatsApp and its history
WhatsApp is an app that allows users to send messages to each other. What separates it from other apps is that it will enable users to store content, such as photos and videos. However, unlike Facebook Messenger, this functionality cannot be done while the app is open to the public. In other words, while other apps let you send a message to a specific person or people and get back a response from them, WhatsApp does not. What WhatsApp does instead is let users have an open or closed app.
While this makes it different from its competitors, the question of who is really behind WhatsApp remains as to whether anyone can create a similar app. The app was initially created as a bit of a side project by four college students.
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