When Facebook a check for a billion dollars for Instagram in 2012, the sum seemed exorbitant. Two years later, with a user base multiplied by five, the Mark Zuckerberg gamble turned into a stroke of genius. The acquisition of WhatsApp messaging app for $ 19 billion , announced Wednesday he will follow the same route? Elements of response with Brian Blau, an analyst at Gartner.

19 billion !?

Subject to approval from the authorities, Facebook will buy Whatsapp for $ 16 billion, four billion in cash and the equivalent of twelve billion shares. Will add three billion in shares to employees of WhatsApp, who will continue their work independently. “The amount is huge, especially for a relatively small business’ 55 employees , admits Brian Blau. But beyond the “shock effect” of the amount, he believes that Facebook “sees the value in the long term.”

450 million monthly users, is more than …

… The 300 million Skype when Microsoft had disbursed $ 8.5 billion in 2011. That the current 240 million Twitter, valued at $ 30 billion in stock. Above all, it is 450 million mobile users, highly courted, and 70% use Whatsapp daily, a daily retention superior to 60% of Facebook.

Explosive Growth

Explosive Growth of WhatsappThis , provided shareholders, compares the growth of WhatsApp to other trucks.After four years of existence, the app messaging three times as many users as Facebook and Gmail at the same time, and eight times as Skype and Twitter. It continues at an additional million every day. According to Zuckerberg, “WhatsApp is on track to quickly reach a billion users.”

Facebook will reach key markets

With the exception of France, WhatsApp is popular almost everywhere in Europe : UK, Space, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, among others. Messaging also a hit in Latin America and Mexico, and off in some emerging markets in Asia such as India and Singapore. China, Japan and Korea, local leaders WeChat, Line and KakaoTalk dominate.

Facebook removes a future threat

The flight Instagram Facebook threatened. That of WhatsApp, Snapchat, WeChat and Viber, too. “Our time is limited and we share it between different app,” says Brian Blau. He said Facebook needs to “increase the products in-house or by redemptions” to stay ahead, especially among teens. 50 billion messages in transit (inbound and outbound) through WhatsApp every day. According to Blau, “it’s not about that for a replacement SMS” already exceeded in 2012 by mobile messaging .Sharing photos and videos is much faster than via MMS, as well as group discussions. 500 million photos are exchanged every day on WhatsApp.

Is he not duplicate Facebook Messenger?

Not completely. According to Zuckerberg, Whatsapp is more focused on the real time. Above all, Facebook Messenger, launched late on mobile in 2011, never really exploded.

But with what business model?

There, it is less clear. During a conference call for shareholders, Mark Zuckerberg kicked into touch. “We are focusing for now on growing the user base. When a service reaches one billion users, it mechanically acquires value, “he said. The director of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, rejects the idea of inserting advertising. On his desk he keeps even a post-it “No ads, no games, no gimmicks.” Zuckerberg believes himself too, that the advertising ‘is not the solution for a mobile messaging app. ” Until he changes his mind? “Not necessarily,” replied Brian Blau. According to the expert, other income runs, as an increase in the subscription, currently set at 99 cents annually after a free year, are possible. For now, Whatsapp, with only 55 employees and spends zero dollars on marketing, do not lose money . Twitter can not be said.