It has been announced that Yahoo has purchased the MessageMe mobile app for an enormous $11.9 million. The purchase of the application, which operates in a similar way to Whatsapp and other mobile messaging services, is actually considered more of a talent acquisition. Yahoo are banking on the brains behind the application being able to produce something as successful, which will reap positives for employees and Yahoo’s investors at the same time.
The news comes hot on the trail of reports that are claiming that Google is looking into creating its own instant messaging service after Facebook managed to beat the company to the purchase of WhatsApp.
At the moment those are just rumours, with no official comment forthcoming from Google, though it is believed that pre-testing may begin in emergent markets like India with a view to bring the application to larger markets if it proves to be successful.
Coming back to MessageMe, it is hoped that the new deal will be extremely positive news for investors, with the likes of ex-Mozilla CEO John Lilly, True Ventures, First Round Capital, Google Ventures, SVAngel, Resolut.vc, Andreessen Horowitz, and Social+Capital Partnership all having added money to the pot behind the software.
Similarly to the purchase from Yahoo, it is believed that the strength of the team behind the application is what enabled them to raise so much money, rather than the quality of the application itself. Co-founders Arjun Sethi and Justin Rosenthal both had extensive experience in the mobile apps and gaming markets before launching MessageMe and it is widely believed that it is this expertise, coupled with their marketing knowledge, that has been the main point of the purchase.
This belief is further reinforced by the fact that MessageMe is no longer growing at the rate it was when it was first launched. After acquiring 5 million users within 3 months the app began to stagnate, leading to its value beginning to fall in the face of the likes of Kik and Whatsapp.
Still, the talent behind the application is irrefutable and, with Yahoo looking to increase use and awareness of its own Yahoo Messenger service, it may not be too long before we start to see what they can do. Perhaps a new challenger in the mobile messaging world is rising.