In one of the largest tech acquisitions since HP bought Compaq for $25 billion in 2001, social networking behemoth Facebook purchased global messaging platform WhatsApp in a deal worth $19 billion in cash, shares and restricted stock.
The five-year-old global messaging platform boasts 450 million users per month—with over 70% active on a daily basis—and nearly one million daily sign-ups.
Image credit: Facebook
The app is extremely popular in developing markets where smartphones and data plans are prohibitively expensive or unavailable. It is cross-platform, including iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and even inexpensive feature phones like the Nokia Ash.
Is Facebook concerned about a declining user base and just buying up platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp just for their membership? Maybe.
Or maybe it’s something much larger:
Mobile has surpassed the desktop, and Facebook knows it.
Facebook was notoriously slow to develop a mobile application of their platform. But the numbers don’t lie: according to many internet analytics sources including comScore, mobile internet traffic will officially eclipse desktop this year.
Just four years ago, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Brian Acton was turned down for a job at Facebook. Now his company commands $19 billion and a seat on Facebook’s board.
Let that sink in:
Facebook could have had on salary the creator of a mobile app they just bought for $19 billion.
That’s a pretty expensive turnaround.
This is the value of mobile in 2014. True, not every mobile application is worth such a fortune. But the mobile space overall is priceless.
Nonprofit organizations ignore mobile at their own peril. When the majority of internet users are using mobile devices, to neglect them is to put yourself on the wrong side of history—and ultimately put yourself out of business.
For 501(c)3s to continue doing their good work they must focus on mobile. They simply cannot afford to ignore this huge shift in their user and donor base.
Fun sidebar: What else could you buy for $16B?