The names Brian Acton and Jan Koum probably aren’t familiar to you but you’ll no doubt have heard of their business named WhatsApp. The popular instant messaging app for phones has taken the world by storm with almost half a billion users, predominantly in Europe and emerging markets. Last week Facebook announced its acquisition of WhatsApp in a recordbreaking $19bn deal, of which the purchase price of WhatsApp is 16bn. On what planet is a simple app that enables people to message each other worth that much? Ours, apparently. Here’s why...
What Koum and Acton realised is that the stranglehold that telecoms operators have on services like messaging has to come to an end. That, along with the rise of app stores where anyone can sell software for anything, meant that the future would belong to niche applica-