19 billion dollars…19…billion. That’s how much mobile messaging app WhatsApp was purchased for yesterday by Facebook; paid in cash and stock. 19 billion. It’s fairly hard to wrap one’s mind around that kind of money, especially when it’s used to purchase a company whose estimated 2013 revenue was $20 million. So, what was Facebook thinking? Is this just the most recent example of the ridiculous overvaluation of tech startups? Or is this a shrewd move by a company whose growth is stagnating? Let’s take a look at some numbers: 450 million users, 315 million of whom are active daily, and many users in emerging markets that Facebook would like a larger presence in; this is what Facebook has purchased. WhatsApp also has a very interesting and potentially wildly profitable revenue generating platform: allow users to use the product for free for a year and charge them $1 per year after that. One dollar for unlimited text, voice and content messaging. It’s not difficult math to see that $1 multiplied by hundreds of millions of users (a number that is rapidly growing) equals a big payday, but does that all add up to the 19 billion dollar valuation? Only time will tell, but until it does this is sure to spark heated debates about the wild spending taking place in today’s tech world.
This isn’t so much a post about Apple’s latest birthday as it is about the contributions of technology, in general, to humanity over the last 30 years. Now I know some of us weren’t alive 30 years ago (myself included), and might barely remember the technological landscape of even 15 years ago, but it doesn’t take more than a mere swiveling of the head to see how technology shapes the day-to-day life of the average person. Smart phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, smart watches, cars that are only a few generations from driving themselves, these now ubiquitous items are but a few of the myriad examples of the daily impact of technology. Remember the not so distant past when a home computer had a 5gb hard drive? Today’s smartphones are like supercomputers in comparison; plus they fit in your pocket. Seemingly each week a new mind-blowing technology is developed. Think back on Apple’s 30 years. Look how far they have come. Try to envision their next 30 years. Try to envision what course-changing technological breakthroughs will come to fruition over the next 30 years. Imagine how different the world will be then. 1984 to 2014. 2014 to 2044.
Apple’s happy birthday video to itself is a visually stunning example of the role their technologies play in the lives of people the world over…and, of course, it was shot entirely on iPhones. Do yourself a favor and check it out
WOW, what a year! It’s been real 2013, but your time is over and it’s 2014’s time to shine. In order to send 2013 out right and ring in the New Year we thought we would share some of our favorite Year in Reviews with you from around the Internet; enjoy and have a wonderful 2014!