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Will WhatsApp Pay Off for Facebook?

By Erin Kennedy and Evan Niu, CFA – Feb 22, 2014 at 8:00PM

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WhatsApp costs users just $1 per year. That insanely low price point is precisely how its disrupting a $100 billion industry, which is why Facebook wants it in the first place.

The key questions for investors about Facebook's (META -0.74%) acquisition of WhatsApp will be how Facebook inevitable chooses to monetizes the popular service. WhatsApp implemented a subscription model last summer, offering service for a mere $1 per year. That approach directly contrasts with Facebook's stance, as Facebook has made it quite clear that it will never charge a fee for its service. While Facebook relies on ads to pay the bills, WhatsApp will decidedly avoid them altogether.

Including Instagram, Facebook will soon operate 3 distinct services that offer different value propositions to users. The Internet is becoming more and more social every day, and Facebook is committed to owning as much of that future as possible. Buying WhatsApp for $19 billion is a bold move, but it might just pay off in the long run after WhatsApp approaches 1 billion users.

In this segment of Tech Teardown, Erin Kennedy discusses WhatsApp's future with Evan Niu, CFA, our tech and telecom bureau chief.

Erin Kennedy has no position in any stocks mentioned. Evan Niu, CFA has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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