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BUSINESS
February 24, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- Just days after agreeing to sell itself to Facebook in a $19-billion deal, WhatsApp made waves again Monday, this time announcing it plans to offer voice calls on its popular mobile messaging service. WhatsApp Chief Executive Jan Koum said the service would roll out on Android phones and iPhones this spring. WhatsApp plans to add voice calls for Blackberry, Microsoft and Nokia phones later, Koum said. "I think we have the best voice product out there. We use the least amount of bandwidth,” Koum said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
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BUSINESS
February 21, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook is changing the visibility of accounts after people die, making it possible for Facebook pages to be preserved not only as digital legacies, but as public memorials as well. The move comes amid growing public concern over what happens to a person's digital presence after he or she dies. The giant social network said Friday that when people “memorialize” the profiles of family members and friends who have died, Facebook will no longer restrict the visibility of those profiles to friends only.
BUSINESS
February 21, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO - The $19 billion that Facebook Inc. is paying for a smartphone app, one of the biggest tech deals of all time, made jaws drop even in Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs tend to have an inflated sense of their own worth. "It's 19 Instagrams," observed serial start-up entrepreneur Adam Rifkin, referring to the $1 billion Facebook paid for the popular photo-sharing app in 2012. But analysts say the purchase of WhatsApp could pay off for Facebook as it takes on Google Inc. and other technology giants in the escalating arms race to be the next big thing in mobile.
BUSINESS
February 20, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
The big news in the world of tech is Facebook's $19-billion acquisition of WhatsApp. But Facebook wasn't the only tech giant to aggressively pursue the popular messaging service: Google also made a hefty bid. Google offered to pay as much as $10 billion for WhatsApp, according to Fortune , which cited two unnamed sources for its report. Obviously Facebook ultimately offered more money, but according to Fortune, WhatsApp chose Facebook because the social network also offered a seat on its board of directors to Jan Koum, WhatsApp's founder and CEO. PHOTOS: 10 ways to use the sharing economy Google's offer did not include that kind of promise.
BUSINESS
February 20, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- Wall Street doesn't like Facebook's $19-billion deal to buy mobile messaging company WhatsApp. Shares slid about 2% to $66.68 in early trading Thursday, erasing a few billion dollars in market value. “The $19-billion price tag is an unfathomable price based on any near-term multiple,” said Macquarie Securities analyst Ben Schachter. As for the longer term? “We won't know for some time if the price paid actually looks more reasonable,” he said. The reaction from Wall Street echoes Facebook's $1-billion acquisition of photo-sharing service Instagram.
BUSINESS
February 19, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
What would Jesus do if he were on Facebook? Make "A Look Back" video, naturally. To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, Facebook let users create their own cornball videos featuring their photos, status updates and major life events. Hundreds of millions have done it . There have been many clever spoofs since. Two of my favorites: Walter White's Facebook retrospective or Grand Theft Auto V's meth head Trevor Philips . But this particular intervention from an enterprising YouTube user is certainly the most divine.
BUSINESS
February 19, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook has agreed to buy popular mobile messaging company WhatsApp for about $16 billion in cash and stock, the giant social network said Wednesday. WhatsApp's current owners would get $4 billion in cash and about $12 billion in Facebook shares. In addition, $3 billion in restricted stock units would be granted to WhatsApp's founders and employees. The stock units would vest over four years after the deal closes. If it goes through, the blockbuster deal would hand Facebook a mobile messaging service that is especially popular with young people.  More than 450 million people use the service each month.
BUSINESS
February 19, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook made WhatsApp the kind of offer it couldn't possibly refuse: $19 billion plus a pledge to pay out $2 billion if the deal doesn't go through. But some users of the popular mobile messaging app say the acquisition is a raw deal for them. And they have gathered on Twitter to say they plan to delete the WhatsApp app. Many of them are complaining about Facebook's privacy incursions. But the main objection seems to be all the ads on Facebook -- and how Facebook exploits what you share with your friends to pitch stuff to you and them.
BUSINESS
February 19, 2014 | Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook Inc., making its biggest bet yet that its future is in mobile devices, stunned the technology world by announcing it would pay $19 billion in cash and stock for a smartphone messaging app. The giant social network is buying WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service that is immensely popular around the globe and has revolutionized how users - especially young people - communicate. With the app, users can send messages over the Internet rather than via wireless carriers that may charge for the service.
OPINION
February 16, 2014 | By Amy Goldman Koss
The 10th birthday of Facebook last week caused me to recall my miserable pre-Facebook existence, when methods of procrastination were sorely limited. As a stay-at-home writer, phone calls were unruly and hard to control. What if the other person wanted to tell a long story? What if she wanted me to really pay attention? I could have a bit of contact with the outside world by scanning the newspaper or listening to the radio. But for me the switch in media was too jarring and tended to trigger frantic snacking, which often led to napping.
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