Hate to kill the buzz (well, I don't, really) over the Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp, but will do my best to do so anyway. One of my main concerns is that the WhatsApp model can and will be replicated in one form or another by at least one, if not multiple, platforms that have not yet been invented but, frankly, are neither brilliant or anything that requires great genius to come up with. Did FB inherit some sort of patents or other IP protection in this deal? If not, will they run out of money sooner than later if their only strategy for keeping the competition at bay is simply to purchase the competition each time a new perceived threat comes along?
Another concern: How much risk is FB taking in assuming that WhatsApp users will want to have anything to do with FB at all, even tangentially? I have both platforms on my smartphone. I will be removing WhatsApp today, as I was already increasingly concerned with the direction FB is heading vis-a-vis their nonsensical policies and technical changes.
And what about the stockholders? I have not checked the news and financial reports today, but I am a bit antsy about how and when this purchase will begin to pay off, even if it was primarily or solely to eliminate a competitor.
Finally, nobody has explained how, long term, the cultural differences between Facebook and WhatsApp, or, for that matter, between Facebook and Instagram, will be resolve. Those issues matter a great deal, as they have proven to be the death of more M&As than not and cannot be sloughed off by the simplistic statement that FB plans to be hands-off with both acquisitions. That simply cannot be true and is not sustainable long-term.
Great or brilliant acquisition? My money says that the deal effectively will kill WhatsApp as a useful or desirable consumer product within the next two years, if not sooner. Check back with me in a couple of years, but don't count on using WhatsApp to do it.