Facebook(s fb) has asked the European Commission’s antitrust watchdog to review its $19 billion takeover of the messaging service WhatsApp, according to the Wall Street Journal and also my own sources. The move may seem counterintuitive, but it would save Facebook the hassle of seeking regulatory approval in each European member state. European carriers in particular are reportedly worried that the deal – already green-lit by U.S. regulators — would give Facebook too much leverage in the SMS-revenue-stealing mobile messaging market. Personally, I think that market is in too much flux for a dominant position to be a sure thing just now, at least in Europe, but the concern is understandable.
We put the question to Rebtel CEO and over-the-top communications veteran Andreas Bernström. He had two big predictions: Google will acquire WhatsApp, and AT&T will acquire Twilio.
New investor Foundation Capital led the round bringing with on board Twitter veteran Anamitra Banerji. Kik is evolving from a texting clone to an HTML5 app platform, which has helped drive big growth in recent months.
Why would Google be interested in WhatsApp when it already has a bevy of peer-to-peer messaging and communications apps at its disposal? For the same reason Facebook bought Instagram.
Facebook will soon allow anyone to sign up for its Facebook Messenger App with just a name and a phone number instead of requiring users to have a Facebook account. The roll out begins on Android in select countries before going international and iOS soon.
Pinger, a San Jose, Calif.-based startup that initially dealt in web-based voice messaging, has launched a free service for sending texts over a web browser. The new feature, dubbed Textfree Web, could well bridge the gap between traditional SMS and the quickly growing mobile messaging market.
The mobile messaging space, already hot with a number of start-ups on a roll and last week’s purchase of Beluga by Facebook, got a little hotter today with news that Kik has raised $8 million from Union Square Ventures, RRE Ventures and Spark Capital.