The figure might seem astronomical compared to the price of other big social media acquisitions like that of Instagram for $US1 billion, but messaging apps like Kik and WhatsApp have way more users and way more activity. Prior to the acquisition, Livingston had actually discussed valuations at that level.
“When I would talk about how valuable I thought that messaging apps would be, I would say, ‘I bet you if WhatsApp were sold today, it would go for $US20 billion,'” Livingston told Business Insider.
It did, however, make it “really real” just how important mobile messaging apps are becoming to big tech companies: They’re becoming “table stakes,” Livingston says.
Earlier this month, Kik introduced a new built-in, HTML5 browser. Clearly, like WeChat and Kakao, the company is taking a completely different path than WhatsApp’s famed “no gimmicks” approach. Livingston says that his goal is not to get Kik acquired, it’s to develop it into a larger, all-encompassing platform.
“Since the beginning, we’ve been asking, if you make a great mobile messenger, what does that give you leverage to do next?” Livingston says. “We want to usher in the mobile web era.”