By timothy from Slashdot's of-all-time! department
Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided to drop a cool $16 billion on WhatsApp, a messaging service with 450 million users. It was a mind-boggling sum, even if you buy into Facebook's argument that WhatsApp (which will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary, at least for the moment) will soon connect a billion people around the world. But it wasn't the biggest tech acquisition of all time: that honor belongs to Hewlett-Packard, which bought Compaq for a (inflation-adjusted) $33.4 billion in 2001. Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp comes in second on the list, followed by Hewlett-Packard's purchase of Electronic Data Systems for $15.4 billion; Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $13 billion, and Oracle snatching up Peoplesoft for $12.7 billion. In sixth comes Hewlett-Packard again, with its Autonomy buy in 2011 (for $11.7 billion), followed by Oracle's BEA Systems acquisition ($9.4 billion) and Microsoft seizing Skype ($9.0 billion). What do many of these highest-cost purchases have in common? Many of them didn't pan out. Hewlett-Packard's Compaq, Autonomy, and EDS acquisitions, for example, made all the sense in the world on paper, the tech giant eventually took significant write-downs on all three (Autonomy in particular was an outright disaster, resulting in a $8.8 billion write-off and widespread allegations of financial and management impropriety)."
Update: 02/20 19:32 GMT by T
: Of interest: Mother Jones has an interesting take on the seeming mismatch between Facebook's business model and the way the WhatsApp founders think about advertising. Hint: they hate it
.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's are-you-sure-this-is-a-shortcut? department
colinneagle writes "Amid all the talk about Microsoft forking Android for a smartphone OS, one suggestion involves a look back to Microsoft's DOS days. Microsoft DOS was designed per IBM's specification to run exclusively on IBM's PC hardware platforms. Phoenix Technologies employed software developers it nicknamed 'virgins,' who hadn't been exposed to IBM's systems, to create a software layer between Microsoft's DOS system and PCs built by IBM's competitors. This helped Microsoft avoid infringing on IBM's patents or copyrights, and subsequently helped fuel the explosive growth of PC clones. Microsoft could use the same approach to 'clone' the proprietary Android components in its own Android fork. This would prevent copyright infringement while giving Microsoft access to Google Play apps, as well as Android's massive base of developers."
Microsoft (or anyone) could generate a lot of goodwill by completely replacing the proprietary bits of Android; good thing that doing so is a work in progress (and open-source, too), thanks to Replicant
. (Practically speaking, though, couldn't Google just make access to the Play Store harder, if Microsoft were to create an Android-alike OS? Even now, many devices running Android variants don't have access to it.)Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-today-I-can-supersize-it department
First time accepted submitter paulbes writes "Jan Koum picked a meaningful spot to sign the $19 billion deal to sell his company WhatsApp to Facebook [Wednesday]. Koum, cofounder Brian Acton and venture capitalist Jim Goetz of Sequoia drove a few blocks from WhatsApp's discreet headquarters in Mountain View to a disused white building across the railroad tracks, the former North County Social Services office where Koum, 37, once stood in line to collect food stamps. That's where the three of them inked the agreement to sell their messaging phenom –which brought in a miniscule $20 million in revenue last year — to the world's largest social network."
Forbes overstates the apparent selling price
by a few billion dollars; big numbers, either way. [Update: 02/20 13:51 GMT by T
: The $19 billion makes sense, if you include retention bonuses
in the form of restricted stock units
.] Another reader points out the interesting fact that "Acton — himself a former Apple engineer — applied for jobs at both Twitter and Facebook way before WhatsApp became a wildly popular mobile app. Both times he was rejected
."Read Replies (0)