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FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the Internet.
We all know that Facebook is the social networking beast - with approximately 1.4 billion users across the globe. Who doesn't have a Facebook page? But if that were not enough, Facebook also is becoming an instant-messaging major player.
Indeed, according to CNET, Facebook Messenger already has as many as 700 million monthly users, as reported by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a recent company annual meeting.
And that is not all. Just a few months ago, Facebook acquired WhatsApp, known as one of the most used messaging applications in the world. So interested was Facebook, that it paid a whopping $22 billion for WhatsApp. When that occurred, WhatsApp had in excess of 400 million monthly users. And now, WhatsApp already has roughly double that number - 800 million users, as stated by Zuckerberg.
Thus, when one tallies up monthly users between Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, Facebook appears to have 1.5 billion monthly messaging users. Of course, there probably is overlap with some of these users on both the Messenger and WhatsApp platforms - but still, we are talking about a tremendous number of users.
Plainly, Zuckerberg's Facebook does not intend to rest on its laurels as simply a social networking platform. As Zuckerberg reportedly told shareholders recently: "Over the next three to five years one of the big parts of our story is going to be that Facebook now is no longer just a single app in a way that people communicate but now we've developed a strategy of trying to build multiple world-class apps and services for all the different ways that people want to communicate."
Facebook certainly has the money and the user base to expand mightily as it deems fit. So, for those people who feel that Facebook already is past its prime and that it may be overtaken by newer and more cool connecting companies - rest assured, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Whether you like it or not, and it seems that most are in the "like" column, Facebook is here to stay, and its reach will continue to expand.
Eric Sinrod (@EricSinrod on Twitter) is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. You can read his professional biography here. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.
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