Google’s Senior Vice President of Android and Chrome, Sundar Pichai, has denied rumors of Google bidding and getting outbid by Facebook for popular messaging app WhatsApp. Pichai denied the rumors, saying “WhatsApp was definitely an exciting product,” but it never made an offer to acquire the company.
This goes against a few reports from The Telegraph, Fortune, and The Information. All had confirmed with sources that Google was in talks to acquire the startup before getting outbid and pulling out against Facebook.
The report says that Google offered WhatsApp $10 billion for its service, and would have been happy to offer more, but decided to pull out of negotiations, possibly in light of adding its own Hangouts service onto Android.
Reports have even pointed to CEO of Google, Larry Page, meeting with WhatsApp owners and talking about possible acquisitions. This is all still questionable, and we wonder if Google would have went to the extent of sending the CEO of the company to WhatsApp to try and win them over.
When Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion, a lot of people were shocked at the price, with some Facebook investors finding it a little too high for their liking. This quickly turned into questions about why Facebook would offer this much. The high price is possibly due to competition trying to snap the app away.
Google has been the biggest fighter against any deal Facebook tries to make. Waze Maps had the same conflict when Facebook pushed an $800 million bid at it, only to be rejected for Google’s $1.2 billion acquisition a few months later.
The two companies like to fight for the best, and WhatsApp is definitely one of the best startups out there. Facebook may have tarnished the brand’s privacy and no ads policy, but no more than what Instagram was hit with in the early stages of its acquisition.
What we want to see is how Facebook manages WhatsApp. With Instagram we are already seeing advertising moves and integration with Facebook, as well as a pulling away of support from Twitter and other brands. Perhaps we will see this again on WhatsApp in the near future.