Make us your home page
Instagram

Zuckerberg takes long view with WhatsApp, Internet

NEW YORK — Mark Zuckerberg, known for his outsized ambitions for Facebook, is applying a similar long-term vision to bringing the Internet to the billons of people around the world who don't already have access.

The 29-year-old CEO of Facebook Inc. discussed long-term plans for a world in which everyone is able to get online during an on-stage interview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday.

It was Zuckerberg's most high-profile appearance yet at the world's largest mobile trade show, signaling Facebook's growing influence in mobile communications. The company's mobile footprint has only expanded with its decision to buy WhatsApp, the wildly popular smartphone messaging service, in a surprise deal announced last Wednesday.

While Zuckerberg spent most of his time discussing Internet.org, the ambitious project that aims to get the world online, he couldn't skirt questions about Facebook's decision to pay a staggering $19 billion for WhatsApp.

"WhatsApp is a great company and a great fit for us," Zuckerberg said, calling the service the "most engaging" mobile application that has ever existed — and one that's well worth its price.

With 465 million monthly members, the service is growing at a faster pace than Facebook ever has. Zuckerberg believes WhatsApp is on track to reach a billion users. It's because of that potential, and not WhatsApp's current revenue stream, that Zuckerberg thinks WhatsApp is worth more than $19 billion. In comparison, Twitter Inc. which has 241 million users, is worth roughly $32 billion, based on its stock price Monday.

On the surface, Facebook and WhatsApp appear to hold divergent views on a number of matters, but Zuckerberg said the companies share a common vision in making the world more connected. Some 70 percent of world's population, or 5 billion people, are still without Internet access. And access, Zuckerberg said, is growing slower than many people in the Internet-connected world believe.

When he announced Internet.org last summer, Zuckerberg noted that since the wealthiest members of the world's population are already connected to the Internet, getting the next billions online is unlikely to be profitable any time soon, if ever.

On Monday, Zuckerberg acknowledged that he "can't construct a model" in which Internet.org's efforts will be profitable for Facebook in the near future.

"I think we are probably going to lose money on this for quite a while," he said, though he added that over time there will likely be some benefit to Facebook.

Zuckerberg takes long view with WhatsApp, Internet 02/24/14 [Last modified: Monday, February 24, 2014 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Early estimates peg Hurricane Irma damage at as much as $65B

    Banking

    The damage totals from Hurricane Irma are still being tallied, but early numbers are in: As of Tuesday, the storm is estimated to have caused between $42.5 billion and $65 billion of damage. That's according to a Tuesday release by Irvine, Calif.-based analytics company CoreLogic.

    Hurricane Irma is estimated to have caused up to $65 billion in damage, said analytics company CoreLogic. Pictured is 
Hermilo Munoz Castillo as wades down a flooded street to check on his home in southern Collier County, Fla. after Hurricane Irma passed. | [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Port Tampa Bay makes public/private commitment for $60 million expansion project

    Business

    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities to divvy up who will pay for a $60 million widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel.

    Port Tampa Bay approved a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Company and Mosaic Company at the port's monthly board meeting on  Tuesday. Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson signs the agreement as Ram Kancharla; Port Tampa Bay's vice president of planning & development, Brandon Burch; project manager at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Lois Moore; of Alcalde and Fay and Charles Klug; Port Tampa Bay principal counsel, and Tim Murphy; deputy district engineer of the Army Corps., looks on. [Company handout]
  3. One of St. Petersburg's newest condo projects is sold out

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. Records show that a 2-bedroom, 2-bath unit sold Friday for $620,000 in an all-cash deal. Two other units — a 3-bedroom, 2-bath penthouse and a …

     Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. 
[Rendering courtesy of aalliiggnn LLC]
  4. Reload your SunPass account. Roadway tolls return Thursday.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida residents will no longer get a free pass traversing most stretches of the Florida Turnpike or certain local expressways across the state.

    With a push by the Florida Turpike to encourage more drivers traveling the Veterans and Suncoast Parkway to buy a Sunpass, motorists will begin to see more lanes converted to handle Sunpass. [Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Tampa Heights project gets $21.5 million in funding

    Real Estate

    TAMPA --- The Tampa-based Heights Community Development District got a financial boost from a $21.5 million tax-exempt bond issue to fund the waterfront community being built along the Hillsborough River just north of downtown Tampa. Proceeds from the bond issue are expected to used for new roads, sidewalks, the Tampa …

    Tampa's Heights Community Development District got a financial boost from a $21.5 million tax-exempt bond issue to fund the waterfront community being built along the Hillsborough River just north of downtown Tampa.
[Courtesy of Aerial Innovations, Inc.]