In the past years, Facebook has gone from college prototype to one of the most lucrative and popular internet ventures in computer history. With their success, they have amassed a series of some of the most expensive acquisitions to date.
One of their first purchases was for a company named Drop.io. Drop.io was an online file-sharing service. It allowed users to make “drops,” which could wield files of any types that could be accessed via e-mail, fax, phone, widgets, and/or internet. The service did not require users to create an account, and drops were private unless otherwise specified. Drop.io was named one of TIME‘s 50 best websites in 2009, and made it to CNET’s Webware 100. The company was headquartered in Manhattan, New York and relocated to Brooklyn. In November 2007, Facebook acquired the service for approximately 10 million dollars. The service has since shut down, and Sam Lessin–one of the site’s founders–moved to Facebook.
Instagram, headquartered in San Francisco, is a popular online video-sharing, photo-sharing, and social networking application that allows its users to take videos or pictures and apply digital filters, and share them to friends via other social networking sites. The app was founded by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom and was released in October of 2010. The service had 100 million active users by April 0f 2012. Initially, the app could only be used with Apple products (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch), but support was later added for Android devices. In the same month in which Instagram reported 100 million active users and made their app available for Android, Facebook bought the company for $1 billion in cash and stock. In 2013, Instagram increased by 23 percent, while their mother company, Facebook, grew only three percent.
Facebook is known to be on the purchasing end of some of the most expensive acquisitions in computer history. One of the most expensive–and controversial, to game enthusiasts–purchases made was for Oculus VR. Oculus VR is a manufacturer for virtual reality technology created by Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe. The first product the company made, which is still in its prototype phase, is the Oculus Rift: a head display for deeply engaging virtual reality. The Oculus Rift has been tested with positive results from users, saying that the device truly immersed them in whatever was being represented. One popular video of the Rift being tested showcases a subject using the device to simulate a roller coaster, and the subject becomes frightened as if he were truly on the ride.
Facebook is responsible for the most expensive acquisition in history, the purchase of WhatsApp for $19 billion. WhatsApp is an application for smartphones that utilizes the internet to send and receive messages. Users can send images, videos, and audio to other users. The company has 500 million active users monthly. Facebook co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, stated that the acquisition was made to further his “Internet.org” vision, which would be a group of basic internet services that would be free for the public to use. The purchase was followed by an increase of 8 million users for the app.
By Andres Loubriel