Interesting. Very interesting. Facebook took the technology world by surprise when it announced a few weeks ago that it had purchased WhatsApp for the sweet sum of $19 billion.

And now Bill Gates has his own little surprise to share in a new interview with the Rolling Stone that Redmond was also interested in making the move for the popular chat service. What he has not detailed, however, is how much Microsoft was willing to spend on the acquisition.

This is what he had to say when told that Google was also looking to buy the service:

“Yeah, yeah. Microsoft was willing to buy it, too… I don’t know if it was for $19 billion, but the company’s extremely valuable.”

Extremely valuable, probably, definitely, in fact, but $19 billion is still a preposterous amount for what is just a service. In other words, the WhatsApp user base could move to greener pastures if something better comes along, so there’s that factor to consider.

And besides, Facebook just had to make the move, in self-preservation, one might say.

Then again, social networking is one area where Microsoft lags behind, and a purchase like this would have made sense when taken in context with Skype and the company’s transition to a devices and services approach.

Gates also talks about how Mark Zuckerberg is more of a product manager than what he was at his age. The interview is a good read, a lengthy read, and not to missed.

Hit it up at the link above.

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  • Sally Black

    Thank you for posting the interview. Microsoft is certainly lagging behind in the social media world, but there’s no way What’sApp is worth anywhere near 19 billion in my opinion.

  • Jake

    These businesses are all going to lose a lot of money soon. There is just no way on earth whatsapp is worth 19 billion dollars. But hey, credit to Whatsapp for getting that value.

  • Emily W

    I have to agree with everyone else. I just don’t see how WhatsApp can gain enough ad revenue or users to be worth billions. I guess FaceBook will try to prove that wrong, but I think Microsoft got lucky.