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WhatsApp exec: Google takeover? It's news to me

Choc Factory not chucking rumoured $1bn at messaging app

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WhatsApp's business development head Neeraj Arora has squashed rumours that Google was keen to spend $1bn on popular mobile messaging service WhatsApp.

Arora spoke to All Things D after furious speculation that the Chocolate Factory had been negotiating with the cross-platform messaging app. The gossip was sparked by tech blog Digital Trends, which earlier this week reported a "source" as saying WhatsApp was looking for a price "close to" the billion dollar mark.

Google told The Reg "we don't comment on rumours or speculation", but the messaging service's popularity would make it a nice buy for one of the established players.

The attraction of WhatsApp is that it can be used across iOS and Android, or even on BlackBerry or Windows, giving fanbois, fandroids and other mobe users a free way to communicate over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G.

Most of the big boys already have messaging services of a sort, though not independent ones. Google and Facebook both have apps for phones that link back to email or social networks, Apple has iMessage and BlackBerry has BBM. None of these are as fluently cross-platform as WhatsApp, or for that matter, other competitors like LINE and WeChat.

WhatsApp makes its money by charging around a dollar per download instead of cluttering up its interface with ads, and links folks through their phone numbers rather than over the net.

Both Google and Facebook have previously been rumoured to be sniffing around WhatsApp, but so far the messaging service hasn't appeared to be interested. ®

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