Popular chat service Viber acquired by Japan’s Rakuten for $900 million

February 14, 2014

viber-logo

Japanese ecommerce and Internet giant Rakuten will acquire Viber, the cross-platform messaging service, for $900 million.

Viber is one of the top popular cross-platform chat apps along with the likes of Skype, Whatsapp, Line, and WeChat, a group of services that together have a combined user base in the billions. With platforms like Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and BlackBerry Messenger taken into account, it’s clear that the world’s appetite for communication leaves plenty of room for several big players to co-exist.

Rakuten is a large Internet player in Japan, but the company has ambitious plans to extend internationally and become “the world’s No.1 internet services company.” In addition to other smaller ventures, Rakuten bought e-reader maker Kobo in January 2012 and lead an investment of $100 million in the fast growing social network Pinterest.

The $900 million Viber deal will complete in March, and will bring Rakuten access to a platform used monthly by more than 225 million users in 193 countries. Viber has witnessed especially strong growth in the United States and the Middle East, but it’s still behind some of its competitors in terms of number of users. Whatsapp has 400 million users, Skype 300 million, while the biggest competitor of all – albeit little known outside China – is probably QQ, which had a staggering 816 million monthly users in September.

One advantage that Viber has over some of its competitors it’s the availability on PCs running Windows, OSX, and even Linux.

What messaging platform do you use the most?

Comments

  • MasterMuffin

    I use stock messaging app. I’m the only one my age (that I know) that doesn’t have any “cool” messaging app :)

    • Guest

      How old are you??? I’m serious. :)

      • MasterMuffin

        5!!

        • Guest

          That explains a lot

          • MasterMuffin

            That’s actually an easy formula that tells my real age

          • AndroidBoss

            I’m 12. No wait I’m 13!!!

          • MasterMuffin

            Sometimes it’s hard to remember how old you are ;P

          • AndroidBoss

            So you’re 25?

          • MasterMuffin

            nope 15

          • Guest

            Correct me if I’m wrong but that means 2 out of the 3 top commenters on AA are about 15.

            btw I’m 15 too :D

          • AndroidBoss

            Wow for real? Thought you were older :P.

    • Guest123

      messaging??? just send me a text.

  • Umesh Krishna

    Viber . For taking with my sis in Europe. I use it daily

  • smokebomb

    I use hangouts for 99% of everything. I keep Facebook messenger on my phone just in case.

  • forenuser

    I’m not bothering about any chat services but i am a regular rakuten customer. Hopefully that snack is not to big to swallow.

  • Tuấn Ankh

    I use Hangout on my Galaxy Mega because Samsung’s messaging app always turns on the display when I get a text. I prefer Samsung messaging app for everything else, except… that stupid screen lock thing which I cannot disable. xD
    I use viber to talk to my friends in other countries and those who don’t have unlimited text. Super convenient! It also helped a lot during the whole month when I had problem with text message. I don’t use Viber for SMS though.