The smartphone messenger war - its just begun or nearly over?
Facebook Inc. (FB) is adopting a multifront strategy to woo fickle smartphone users who crave a variety of ways to send messages to friends.
The social network has made two big moves in messaging in just the past five months. In February, Facebook agreed to buy startup WhatsApp Inc. for $19 billion. This week, it followed up by recruiting EBay Inc. (EBAY)’s PayPal President David Marcus to run its other messaging efforts including Messenger, which Facebook started requiring people to use for messaging in April.
In an age when e-mail is losing its cachet, especially among the young, Messenger and WhatsApp provide Facebook with different ways into messaging. WhatsApp, which is more popular in Europe and Asia, looks spare and will remain simple, its founders have said. By contrast, Messenger, which has virtual stickers of smiling pandas and other features, may keep expanding on what it offers. Marcus will have the freedom to experiment and try different things with Messenger to differentiate the app, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.