Facebook is paying around $19 billion for WhatsApp, in the fifth-largest tech acquisition of all-time. Will it prove bargain or bust?
FORTUNE — Earlier today I appeared on CNBC to discuss Facebook’s FB stunning $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp, the mobile messaging platform that has grown from 200 million users to over 450 million users in just the past nine months. In short, the hosts wanted to know if it was a smart or dumb deal.
In all honesty, it’s WAY too early to say. But I wouldn’t bet against Mark Zuckerberg just because this deal feels oversized at first blush. Remember, so did Instagram.
What does seem clear, however, is that this deal should seriously concern some other players. Like Google GOOG , which spent more than a year (unsuccessfully) trying to buy WhatsApp. Or rival messaging apps like Kik, Snapchat and WeChat — all of which just lost a major suitor, and now may need to battle it out to be number two. Or current wireless carriers, who make a fortune off of SMS (the functionality that WhatsApp virtually gives away for free). Or Apple AAPL , if only because some of its shareholders may now feel that it has totally missed the boat on a giant new opportunity, despite having the resources to have bested Facebook.
Anyway, here is the CNBC conversation with myself and Business Insider’s Henry Blodgett: