WhatsApp is a widely used messaging app that circumvents the fees imposed by SMS, along with the platform lock-in on networks like BBM and iMessage. According to the filings, WhatsApp enjoys over 450 million monthly users, 70% of whom access the service every day.
Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO, said, “WhatsApp’s extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide. We’re excited and honored to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world.”
The acquisition is the latest in Facebook’s foray into mobile, following the $1 billion purchase of Instagram, along with its in-house launch of the critically acclaimed Paper app for iOS.
Patent trolls are companies that buy often obscure patents and threaten lawsuits against hundreds or even thousands of people and businesses. The real aim is to get companies to fork over cash to make the troll go away.
“We want to help and protect the small businesses who fuel our local economies,” said Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, who sponsored the bill.
In what might be a Silicon Valley first, Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, won two startup awards on the same night, highlighting both the achievements of his role at the company’s helm, and the controversies created in the process.
Inside the Davies Symphony Hall, Costolo won “Best CEO,” the Best Actor equivalent of The Crunchies, Silicon Valley’s lavish annual award ceremony co-organized by TechCrunch, GigaOM, and VentureBeat. Costolo’s newest accolade emerged from fierce competition, in which he edged out Tesla’s Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer, and runner-up-winning Travis Kalanick of Uber.
“This is really a team award,” said Costolo, in a gracious and brief acceptance speech. “It’s just such a delight to be able to get up in the morning and come to work with such enthusiastic, and creative, and courageous people. It makes it fun, it makes it exciting, and it never gets old, so thanks very much — I really appreciate it.”
Today marked the seventh year of The Crunchies, and the first of another event: The Crappies, organized in protest by the San Francisco chapter of Jobs With Justice. Playfully adorned with hand-written, paperboard signage, The Crappies organizers “awarded” individuals and companies for actions deemed problematic and harmful to the city and its myriad communities.
Dick Costolo was among the dubious cast of Crappies prizewinners, receiving the award for Best Tax Evader. The award references the company’s decision to relocate to the city’s Mid-Market neighborhood in the now-termed “Twitter building.”
In agreeing to the move, Twitter accepted a payroll tax credit pioneered by Mayor Ed Lee. The credit, misleadingly called the “Twitter tax break,” in fact extends to any company that relocates to the Mid-Market neighborhood, a trending district that incorporates areas of Civic Center and the Tenderloin, along with stretches of SoMa from 6th to 10th Street.
In guise of the real Costolo, local nonprofit worker and activist James Chionsini, playing a rather convincing Fake Dick Costolo, accepted the award. Chionsini’s last tweet, dated from almost a year ago, rings today with newfound prescience:
@twitter i work at a non profit at 5th and mission with seniors and the landlord is jacking our rent to attract tech firms. thanks a lot
The Crappies have followed a wave anti-gentrification protests across the Bay Area, where private buses transport Google workers to and from the company’s Mountain View headquarters. The protests, widely covered in both tech and mainstream press, highlight the tensions rippled by the wave of a tech economy that fails to lift all boats.
“San Francisco is in a crisis,” decries Jobs With Justice. Median rental prices recently topped $3,000 for the first time in history, situating the City by the Bay as the country’s single most expensive place to live.
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Join hundreds of founders, investors, and hackers at The Alley for an evening of awesome people, groundbreaking startups, and illuminating conversation, celebrating the future of social media and the innovators behind it.
Co-produced with longtime friend and collaborator Michael Gold, Founder & Executive Producer of #techdrinkup, you’re invited to join us at the first and only NYC #sfbeta of the year.
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