How is Facebook ever going to make money from its recent acquisitions?

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 26, 2014
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Facebook

Shortly after Facebook acquired the popular messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion USD it acquired the the company developing the Oculus Rift VR for $2 billion USD.

Whenever Facebook acquires a new company, some vocal users on the Internet announce that they won't be using the product anymore. This has not hindered the growth of WhatsApp apparently, which jumped to 480 million active users worldwide up from 430 million users two months earlier.

Reactions to Facebook's acquisition are similar this time around. Users claim that they won't buy the device anymore, and at least one prominent developer, Minecraft creator Marus Persson, revealed openly that Minecraft won't be coming to the Oculus because of Facebook's acquisition.

Whenever I read about another multi-billion Dollar acquisition by Google, Facebook or Microsoft, I wonder how they are going to make money out of it.

If you take WhatsApp as an example. The current user base is about 450 million users. If each user would pay the one-year subscription price, WhatsApp would generate about 450 million Dollars a year (it is less than that but less round it up to that).

Even if the user count grows to 1 billion in the next one or two years, it would still generate only a fraction of what Facebook bought the company for.

The same for Oculus. Buying a company for $2 billion that has not even released a product yet?

The future

While Facebook may bet big on its two recent acquisitions, the main reason why the company bought the two other companies lies in the future.

WhatsApp's growth combined with plans to add new features such as voice calls to the app may improve the applications revenue generation in coming years. If you only look at the current user count and revenue generation, you cannot possibly justify the $19 billion that Facebook paid for the company.

But if you take into account the future vision, to become a messaging application that covers all bases, then it is quite possible that these additional features may either be bought as add-ons or that the current yearly subscription price may be increased once those new features launch.

And for Oculus, it is the same thing. If you take into account the future applications that the Oculus and its improved versions that will come out in the next decade offer, then you may be able to justify the price that Facebook paid.

If we are going to spend time using virtual reality devices in the near future, then it can very well be that the Oculus may play a major role in that.

Mark Zuckerberg hinted at some of it on Facebook where he announced the acquisition officially.

But this is just the start. After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face -- just by putting on goggles in your home.

This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.

I cannot really see it work well in its current form though as it is a rather clumsy big device. But improvements will be made to make it lightweight and more attractive to the general public.

So, what is your take on this? Is Facebook burning money here, or is the company setting itself up for the next decade?


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  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong..

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: []. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, has changed in quality.
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin:,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

  9. sean conner said on September 27, 2023 at 6:21 am

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