07 October 2014 :: Facebook is now the legal owner of WhatsApp. This is the final step in a process begun when Facebook announced its intent to acquire the messaging company in February of this year. The Facebook deal passed its final regulatory hurdle when it received EU approval to go ahead with the acquisition of WhatsApp last week.
WhatsApp founder and CEO Jan Koum will remain CEO of WhatsApp, but he will also take a place on Facebook’s board. Like Mark Zuckerberg, Koum will only draw a $1 annual salary and won’t be eligible for a Facebook’s bonus program. Instead he gets 24,853,468 restricted shares of Facebook stock, which is more than half of the 46 million restricted shares awarded to WhatsApp employees.
WhatsApp Messenger is a proprietary, cross-platform instant messaging subscription service for smartphones and selected feature phones that uses the internet for communication. In addition to text messaging, users can send each other images, video, and audio media messages as well as their location using integrated mapping features.
WhatsApp Inc. was founded in 2009 by US citizens Brian Acton and Jan Koum (also the CEO), both former employees of Yahoo!, and is based in Mountain View, California. The company employs 55 people. The company is currently in the process of takeover after Facebook Inc. announced its acquisition of WhatsApp Inc. on February 19, 2014, for US$19 billion.
As of September 2014, WhatsApp is the most globally popular messaging app with 600 million users, followed by China’s WeChat (438 million users) and Japan’s LINE (400 million users).
Acquisition by Facebook
On February 19, 2014, Facebook announced it would be acquiring WhatsApp for US$19 billion, in what will be its largest acquisition to date.
WhatsApp uses a customized version of the open standard Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). Upon installation, it creates a user account using one’s phone number as the username
WhatsApp software automatically compares all the phone numbers from the device’s address book with its central database of WhatsApp users to automatically add contacts to the user’s WhatsApp contact list. Previously the Android and S40 versions used an MD5-hashed, reversed-version of the phone’s IMEI as password, while the iOS version used the phone’s Wi-Fi MAC address instead of IMEI. A 2012 update now generates a random password on the server side.
WhatsApp is supported on most Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, and Nokia smartphones. All Android phones running the Android 2.1 and above, all BlackBerry devices running OS 4.7 and later, including BlackBerry 10, and all iPhones running iOS 4.3 and later. However, some Dual SIM devices may not be compatible with WhatsApp, though there are some workarounds for this.
Multimedia messages are sent by uploading the image, audio or video to be sent to an HTTP server and then sending a link to the content along with its Base64 encoded thumbnail (if applicable).