Rumor: Facebook looking to buy WhatsApp

Rumors are circulating that Facebook is looking to purchase instant messaging mavens WhatsApp. No pricing of the acquisition or even confirmation of talks have been revealed, but TechCrunch seems convinced that something is brewing between the two companies.

Facebook famously bought Instagram for $1B not too long ago, although that number is mostly reflected in now devalued stock options. It’s not clear why Facebook would buy WhatsApp but there are a few possibilities, including augmenting or even gutting the unreliable Facebook Chat and there is of course the legion of WhatsApps users (who never fail to tell us there is an update for the app on Windows Phone, more on the below).

Neither company has confirmed the report at this time. We should point out the chuckle we had back here at Windows Phone Central as one company who is infamous for having a terrible mobile experience may be purchasing another who also seems to have trouble (at least on Windows Phone). We’re not sure what kind of disaster these two companies could whip up but hopefully if it comes to pass, it won’t be Yahoo! level bad.

The WhatsApp update and Windows Phone 8

Speaking of WhatsApp, we’d like to personally thank the 11,248 readers who sent in tips to let us know that the Windows Phone version of WhatsApp has had a minor update to version 2.8.8. We hear it’s slightly faster and less buggy, which is basically the same thing we say every time WhatsApp gets an update. The update also “optimizes your chat storage” and sends chat history via email, which sounds thrilling.

Unfortunately if you’re on Windows Phone 8, you’re still out of luck, as this version is not listed for that OS, meaning no WhatsApp for you. This happened a few weeks ago too and we perhaps unfairly ranted against WhatsApp. We say unfairly because we received this note from Microsoft at the time:

“Due to an operational error, WhatsApp was temporarily unavailable to Windows Phone 8 customers in the Windows Phone Store. The error has been fixed and WhatsApp will be available again shortly.” – Microsoft spokesperson

The irony is of course the app did return for a few days before this 2.8.8 update. Now that the update is out, Windows Phone 8 users are back to not having access again. Microsoft's fault? WhatsApp's fault? We don't really care at this point as we're just tired of the back and forth.

We do know that Nokia is working with WhatsApp to release a newer version (we’re unsure if it is a Lumia exclusive) and if there were anyone who could make that app finally stable, it would be Nokia’s squad of skilled devs. There is no ETA though on that version, so we’ll just have to sit tight.

Until then, please stop tipping us on WhatsApp, kthxbai!

Pick up WhatsApp here in the WIndows Phone Store.

QR: WhatsApp

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • kthxbai dudes
  • Love the name drop lol, made me smile.
  • WhatsApp is begining to look like an infested cespool.
  • Spammers and crazy things happening there... even on Android.
  • I started using Kik, intresting app, I'd like to see when the evaluators an WPCentral think
  • Daniel i believe is a fan of Kik. I certainly preferred it but alas my loser friends who use iPhones etc
    ...all use what's app.. So hence..
  • Yup, Kik is a better, more reliable service from my experience. It's not perfect either and there are a few small issues on WP8 e.g. the Tile notifications sometimes don't appear. But overall, it's much more stable--I just hope their WP8 update isn't too far behind. Here at WPCentral, for obvious reasons, we're using Rooms more now for direct communication.
  • I wish I could use Kik if my friends weren't still using Whatsapp. I consider it a terribly designed app on all platforms.
  • I hear it's popular for sexting
  • Both are.
  • I use kik only for knew others did
  • I am not on facebook and deleted my account... I really don't want to be forcibly reintegrated into Facebook via whatsapp, i will have to look for other options if that happens
  • I couldn't take it any longer. I removed whatsapp. It is a battery drained and buggy.
  • Same here since the latest updates the battery life of my lumia 900 has been cut in half
  • Not very happy about this. I like to use both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, but I prefer and enjoy them each on its own. I don't want them to merge. I believe Facebook is doing this just to take out a valid competitor. 
  • Why not just use Skype on WP8? 
  • Most users adhere to a service because of social circles and what they use. You'll see lots of people here use WhatsApp not out of love but because their friends use it. It's a valid argument.  Granted, if you can get everyone to switch to Skype (or Kik), then kudos. But that's a monumental task.
  • Wait, did they fix the skype problem on WP8?
  • What problem?
  • It makes your Microsoft account do an endless cycle of syncing with no way to stop it. Drains your battery by doing so in a matter of hours. Only way to stop it is uninstall Skype and do a soft reset.
  • Isn't Skype more popular than whatsapp? I thought everyone had skype account
  • Skype is not consider to be an ideal chat platform at this time in comparison to WhatsApp. It's also not very battery friendly on other platforms just yet.
  • As you may have guessed from the message previously, I tried this very move on my friends over to Kik (which runs about twice as fast than Whats App on my old 1st gen Mozart btw) but was met with apathy when it was remarked "umm its just the same, no thanks UNINSTALL!!..." etc etc... much to my dismay. However, i can report on my L920, Whats App is blazing fast now and as usable as i'd hoped for. Notifications are still seemingly sentient and do their own thing,,, but.. it works. Its basic and an embarrasing app to use on the powerful WP8 but, its become a neccessary evil thee days. Such is life. Turns out, I must have timed it right to still download the app when i got the phone as it's currently NOT in the UK store as mentioned in the story above. 
  • Most people wouldn't want to ask their friends to switch to Kik because WhatsApp is brilliant on iOS and Android. You need to understand that, if you've ever used an iOS device before.
  • My point was that in their eyes it offered no real benefit- which i understood thank you very much... It was a shame to see their reaction to a viable alternative as a WP user that was all.
  • WhatsApp uses phone numbers to register accounts and populate contacts; Skype relies on Skype usernames or Microsoft Accounts, but neither of these are frequently stored on people's phones. Phone numbers are universal.
  • As long as the supposed new Facebook chat doesn't break the baked in FB chat in WP, I won't mind. I've been using Viber Messenger on my Lumia 920 and it works fine and most of my friends are on it (and all of the abroad ones). It's a shame that the better, Nokia exclusive Viber app doesn't support 1280 x 768 though so I can't use it.
  • m8, I recommend you read what wikipedia has to say about viber. although it is a nice messenger there seems to be a lot of crap in it ☹
    I once liked it, too...
  • Just don't break the messenger on my Windows Phone and I'll be alright. I haven't had any problems with Facebook chat recently and I quit using Whatsapp a long time ago, but I'm apathetic to this buyout as long as it does not break the integrated chat.
  • this
  • if facebook buys whatsapp I'm done with it. That'd suck like hell!
  • Agreed!
  • Why?
  • because facebook sucks. I could puke up everytime I hear facebooks anti privacy crap. Big Brother is watching you...
  • Man..stop caring..thats the only way..i have
  • I'm a big music listener and i was sick of how WhatsApp uses "fake streaming" to keep the phone's data connection active to check for new IMs. Hopefully they switch to a new method such as the new API that Skype uses to do it's thing in the could. Until WhatsApp gets around that i refuse to use it, such a shame Skype isn't ready for primetime yet
  • I must of been lucky enough to what's app before it was pulled for my WP8
  • No matter how much you try to block the sun with one finger, whatsapp just sucks big time on WP, in the other platforms is a FINE app and it works FINE.
    Maybe is just that the devs hates Microsoft or whatever, but the guys don't seem to give a damn about the platform, Symbian, iOS and Android get regular updates. I don't know what's the hype about KIK (or LINE or IM+), is even worst than whatsapp!, it seems that there's never gonna be a reliable IM on windows phone (7.x), not even the embeded solution works fine.
    And it seems that the people with WP 8 are having the same issues, that's pretty sad. Once again, beautiful phones that fails to the most important thing: COMMUNICATE!
    You can say whatever about whatsapp, nowdays is the most important multiplatform IM app in the word, period. And if there's gonna be a new one, for sure, it would work poorly on WP, because is irrelevant. I don't believe the words that Balmer said about that the next big app is gonna be launched on WP, no with how the things are looking, there's already people regretting changing their iOS or Android devices for this M$ nonsense.
  • Could you be less appreciative of your devoted wpcentral followers, Daniel? Lol...
  • Hehehe
  • All 11,248 of
  • I hope Nokia does a good job to create a better whatsapp
  • Maybe just friends and I, but we tried the assorted IM apps on our respective platforms. We have found plain ol' text messaging to be the best. Individual and group texts work great, and no need to screw around with yet another login.
  • What about that Nokia Pulse (if I remember correctly) thing? Or make Skype finally the all-in-one messenger. Available on every device with reliable delivery, file sharing and video chatting... There are times I could freak out about not having the complete chat history on Messenger or messages not delivered to every single device I'm logged on
  • Let's hope not. I love WhatsApp!
  • so two companies who don't gives a rat's a** about Windows Phone are coming together? No wonder the OP is pissed off.
  • The rate in which Facebook app gets updated on wp, is something to be desired. And with this whatsapp buy out, i think we can seriously expect really rubbish updates
  • KiK is old school. I don't know a single person that uses it. Asbfor spammers on Whatsapp.....that's complete BS! Whatsapp populates your chat contacts based on who's in your phone directory.
  • Fastbook better not screw whatsapp up. It is already screwed up enough on Windows Phone, last thing we need is ads.
  • Yahoo-level bad... Does yahoo even make apps?
  • Facebook buying this just help boost there failing stocks. Facebook getting be boring and sooner or later it will die out just like MySpace did in the past
  • Whats the deal with all the app incompatability lately?
  • Though I'm aware of the general dislike that the staff at WPcentral has for whatsapp (I can understand their reasons), I was hoping for a review of the latest update from anyone that has used it for more than just a few minutes. I'm hearing both positive and negative comments from the windows phone store. Can anyone shed some light on the stability and speed after using it for the past two to three days?
  • Speed and stability are improved..and the toasts are coming addition to the emoticon pack
  • I've use it for more than four months. It seems stable enough. Well ... it still far behind of Android and iOS version in term of how long I receive the notification after someone send me messages. But generally, it's usable. Notification always coming (though it's time accuracies are kinda hit and miss). Badge also shown correct unread messages (inlike LINE which messed up a lot on this part). But yeah ... it stable enough to the level of usable. I don't know about WP8 though since I only use WP7.5.
  • Thanks for the responses, though I meant specifically regarding the latest 2.8.8 update.
  • Am I the only one that finds Whatsapp perfectly fine on my Windows Phone? The only time it ever had a problem for me was when they had an update and no one could then send pictures or videos. 2 days later another update was added and it's been pretty solid (for me anyway) since.
  • i don'T care who buys it as long as they bring it back to the store ASAP!!! Maaaann... i need WhatsApp!
  • Yet there is no Instagram app.
  • Downloaded whatsapp due to friends incessantly nagging me about it (that and viber) ended up on viber since that's where most of my friends are, and since I never received the registration sms from whatsapp. Tried reinstalling it, even contacted their support, heck, I even waited two whole days one time.
    I'd personally prefer kik, but I'm usually jumping from joy if any of my friends has even heard of it.
  • Any LINE users in here. I really don't get why people use whatsapp. I'm a ex-iPhone owner (i know..) and whatsapp wasn't all that great on iOS either. But 99% of my friends use it so its inevitable. Tried to convince them to use LINE and succeeded with a few % but in the end,  they had to follow their friends circle again and abandoned it. 
    LINE is a huge success in Japan though.  I guess it's all about flocking users to your platform first. Then you basically win. 
  • For Christ sake, if Facebook buys whatsapp i will never use it again
  • The new version has a bug where if you have too much content on the media screen for a particular contact, scrolling a bit or pressing the back arrow will cause the app to crash.