We demystified it last month, but Facebook’s $18 billion acquisition of WhatsApp should begin to make more sense to people today after the company announced that its Messenger service will become a platform for third parties — as TechCrunch first reported last week.
The Messenger Platform will allow developers to deeplink their apps into Messenger, and it will also become a communications channel for businesses and customers. These moves aren’t a huge surprise — they’ve been pioneered by Line and WeChat in Asia for years, and Facebook’s head of Messenger, David Marcus, gave plenty of hints in an interview with Wired last year. But, while the tech industry chews on the immediate implications, the path for WhatsApp is clearer than ever.
If Facebook is a platform (which it now is), then WhatsApp will continue to be a communications utility. WhatsApp’s simplicity is the yin to the yang of Messenger’s busy platform.
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