WhatsApp's entry in the voice calls business could spread like wildfire, break an existing industry, and create entirely new businesses,
Did Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook investors get a good bargain by spending only 19 Billion? Maybe
Could Jan Koum have made more? Potentially yes. However, 19 Billion is so much money, why would he and the small team need any more
Will it have an impact tomorrow? No
Will it have a major impact in say 5 or 10 years? Huge
What could that impact be? A revenue stream of telcos, voice business, may almost cease to exist. Entirely new unimagined revenue streams will be created.
That sounds like great news for consumers. Instead of paying for minutes, and texts/sms, they could only pay for the monthly data packs. Data packs would become a commodity, most wouldn't care about which operator to choose, multiple plans etc. Plain and simple, vanilla business: It may be a world where you use up data packs, and buy more, then even more. More like electricity of today. A distantly related current world concept, Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite 3G which provides free 3G, buy as much as you want and pay for the product only once.
Many have an iPad, iPhone, so do their friends. That breed of humans already has Facetime audio and video along with iMessage. Their universe is different, hardly do they make the traditional phone calls. Why do they even need WhatsApp, only to communicate with those who don't use iPhones?
A sizeable number of those are also Business users. Skype is amongst the best deal available in the market. Unlike WhatsApp, it allows creating multiple identities, which draws the boundary between private and work life, inside our hyper connected universe. Besides Skype allows for screen sharing as well- a useful business need.
Which leads to the conclusion, iUsers won't care about the outcome of the 19 Billion deal, their walled garden is the best deal they own, and are happily satisfied. Business users are already used to Skype etc, they anyways don't buy telecom minutes for business use.
However, there is the other major user base called the consumers (the previous two are also a subset here) , who want the maximum discount and best deal on most monetary interactions they have. No surprise, apparels sell the most during Sale period, and sell highest during the last few days when maximum discount is available. Black Friday, Cyber Monday etc. etc.That is where WhatsApp gives a sucker punch to the telecom industry, and blows the wind out of them.
Feature phones are almost dead. Companies like Lennovo, Micromax are already providing features found in the expensive Samsung devices in their far more cost effective Android variants. Clearly every other person will soon only buy a smartphone, trend has been already very strong.
Traditional voice calls over mobile, could soon become the Pagers of yesteryear. How soon, only time and those invested in it could shape. The idea of iPhone created the app economy of which WhatsApp is a great product. Now, a blend of WhatsApp / Facebook could well be the lynchpin for another strong money making machine.
Meanwhile, i will enjoy using the iDevice with Skype and WhatsApp! :)