What Zuck Is Missing About Messaging

Mark Zuckerberg is thinking a lot about messaging. If the $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp wasn’t enough proof, the Facebook chief executive officer spent a hefty chunk of today’s earnings call talking about the opportunity in mobile communication.

“The amount of messaging and how we see that growing is crazy,” Zuckerberg said. “There’s so much groundwork that we need to do in order to make it so that people are communicating with businesses and public figures in these other apps that we’re building.”

Mark Zuckerberg in Barcelona on Feb. 24. Close

Mark Zuckerberg in Barcelona on Feb. 24.

Mark Zuckerberg in Barcelona on Feb. 24.

So shareholders are inclined to believe whatever Zuckerberg has to say right now. With messaging, the CEO was adamant that Facebook would not “take the cheap and easy approach and just try to put ads in.” Zuckerberg said: “We’re going to take the time to do this in the way that we think that’s going to be right over multiple years.”

As Facebook figures out how it might monetize its millions of chatters, here are four numbers that should prod the social networking giant to move a bit faster:

The indicator for a new message on the WhatsApp Inc. mobile-messaging application WhatsApp is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone in this arranged photograph taken in Hong Kong, China. Close

The indicator for a new message on the WhatsApp Inc. mobile-messaging application… Read More

The indicator for a new message on the WhatsApp Inc. mobile-messaging application WhatsApp is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone in this arranged photograph taken in Hong Kong, China.

$9.8 billion: That’s the estimated valuation of Line, which makes a messaging app dominant in Japan and other parts of Asia, if the company goes ahead with a planned initial public offering, Bloomberg News reported last week. Line, which is controlled by South Korea’s Naver, has more than 480 million registered users and generates revenue by selling packs of digital stickers featuring cartoons characters and Hollywood icons. Here’s another number to chew on: Line made 14.6 billion yen ($144 million) from its core business in the first three months of the year.

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