By 11 March 2014 | Categories: news


Sometimes, when I go onto my iPhone’s App Store, I am about to buy some sort of extremely useful app, like the one that turns pictures of your loved ones into fat people, or the one that turns pictures of your loved ones into old people, or the one that turns pictures of your loved ones into zombies. But just before buying said useful app, I realise that it costs a whole 99 American cents. That’s a bit expensive for an app, I think, before changing my mind and not downloading it. It seems, though, that I have an unrealistic idea of what an app is worth. Mark Zuckerberg has paid $19 billion for one.

I’m talking, of course, about WhatsApp; the most expensive app in history and Facebook’s latest acquisition. Don’t get me wrong. WhatsApp is an extremely useful tool. It has 450 million users. I am one of them, and so is my dad, which is amazing when you consider that my dad owns and regularly uses a fax machine – which he considers to be among the world’s most innovative tech gadgets.

The emoticon for you

WhatsApp came onto the scene and made BBM obsolete, when people realised they could message each other for free and with the amazing added bonus of not having to own a BlackBerry. Later, when WhatsApp decided to stop being free and start charging a dollar, I paid that dollar without any fuss, because WhatsApp is easy to use and, most impressively of all, it has every emoticon ever. Just thinking about those WhatsApp emoticons makes me want to weep tears of pure joy. If you ever feel the need to express the fact that that aliens took a poo next to your tent and set your koala alight, WhatsApp has the emoticons for you.

I will download the ‘Punch Mark Zuckerberg In The Face’ app with immediate effect.

So I can see the appeal of WhatsApp, and why you’d want to own it, and by that I mean the way Facebook owns it (for $19 billion), of course, as opposed to the way I own it (for $1).  Many people are shocked at how much was spent on the chat app, but I wasn’t. If I were Mark Zuckerberg I’d probably just buy the whole internet, even if it cost gazillion dollars. I’m sure he can afford it.

What Facebook?

What I’m more concerned about is whether WhatsApp will remain the app we know and love. Facebook can go ahead and buy it, but they must resist the temptation to Facebookerize it. If I am ever using WhatsApp and start getting Farmville requests, people notifying me that they think it would be a brilliant idea for me to ‘Try Birthdays’, or, worst of all, people ‘poking’ me, whatever that means, I will download the ‘Punch Mark Zuckerberg In The Face’ app with immediate effect, 99 cents or not. 

Until such atrocities occur, I will continue to make daily use of the app I know and love. *Smiley face* *Dragon* *Cable Car*

Photo courtesy of GA Goodman
Article first appearead in TechSmart March 2014


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