WhatsApp shows that Facebook & Google are serious about competing with telcos

$19 billion for WhatsApp only makes sense if you view it in the context of the pending battle that Facebook — and Google — are preparing to wage against the telcos that control their access to customers.

If you want to know what Facebook’s strategy might look like for the next five years, read this post: First, hurt the telcos. Second, find a way around them. Third, rally public opinion.

If you had any doubt about Facebook’s and Google’s intentions for the next five years, Facebook’s WhatsApp acquisition makes it clear: These Silicon Valley giants have no intention of remaining dependent on the caprices of the telcos.

In fact, we’re seeing the battle lines being drawn on what will be an epic business battle between telecommunications companies, which have controlled the Internet’s infrastructure for decades; and so-called “content” companies like Facebook and Google, which have been using that infrastructure to deliver their services to consumers.

Facebook was not willing to pay a record $19 billion for WhatsApp just because it’s a Twitter competitor, an SMS alternative, or a way to attract customers among youth in non-U.S. countries — though those are all significant.

The real reason Facebook was willing to pay so much is that WhatsApp represents a real threat to the carriers. That became clear earlier this week when WhatsApp unveiled its plans to offer voice calling within its app.

Read the rest on VentureBeat:  WhatsApp shows that Facebook & Google are serious about competing with telcos | VentureBeat | Business | by Dylan Tweney.