Facebook’s Next Acquisition; a Prediction

While scrolling through some articles for some inspiration for a blog post, I came across a tech crunch article that included a very good interactive info-graphic on acquisitions made by tech companies over the last fifteen years (screenshot below).

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 2.56.41 PM

For perspective, that huge blue bubble in the bottom corner is the much talked about WhatsApp acquisition by Facebook earlier this year. This got me thinking about some of the apps or web services that I have used or heard about that may be next on the list of companies to be acquired by one of these tech giants, given their seemingly unquenchable thirst to buy up these smaller web services and apps.

Cyber dust instantly comes to mind. The messaging company is somewhere in between text messaging and snapchat. The basic idea is that once you send someone any message or image, it disappears 30 seconds after they open it. Given snapchat’s popularity, I can see this app getting similar levels of attention. I couldn’t find any data on their current number or users or anything like that, but I have no doubt that this relatively new app will take off quickly.

While I am sure that any of the companies included in the info-graphic above (apple, yahoo, amazon, Facebook and google) would love to acquire this company, I would expect Facebook to make an offer if my prediction on the app’s user base growth is correct. Facebook had offered three billion in cash for snapchat late last year, so they have an interest in this “disappearing digital footprint” fad. Given heightened privacy concerns of many users, these kinds of apps are very popular. Since snapchat rejected Facebook’s offer, I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook is quick to make an offer to cyber dust.

The service, whose tagline is “Every spoken word isn’t recorded. Why should your texts be?” is owned by Mark Cuban, who says he doesn’t think it will replace texting, only supplement it so that you can stay in control of your messages. With standard texting, you lose control as soon as you hit send. While there are some obvious sketchy uses for cyber dust that come to mind, I have used it to send my login information for my Netflix account to my brother. While that isn’t the most sensitive information out there, I don’t really want him to tell all his friends at school and have 300 high school freshmen using my Netflix account. Cyber dust prevents him from leaving that information on his phone when he takes it to school. Other more innocent uses for the app that come to mind are coordinating some kind of surprise birthday party or complaining about your boss to coworkers.

While there are a lot of “what ifs” about cyber dust’s growth, I think that my prediction is a reasonable one. I don’t know much about Mark Cuban’s goals for holding onto or selling the service, so whether or not cyber dust is actually sold if an offer is made is another issue.


3 thoughts on “Facebook’s Next Acquisition; a Prediction

  1. zsalem

    Just something thats crossed my mind reading this: is Facebook looking to purchase the intellectual property or a larger user/fan base? Note: Building a messaging service isn’t exactly a challenging problem to tackle.

  2. awerther

    Seems like a fairly good prediction in terms of what Facebook might do next. In terms of the app itself, I really wonder what kind of user base it currently has. I know that with Snapchat you can take a screenshot of the image (even though it tells the user who sent it that you took a screenshot), but this way you can actually keep the image on your phone. Do you know if Cyberdust works similarly? Obviously it is sort of a hassle to take a screenshot every time you want to keep something for longer than the 24 seconds the message lasts, but I’m skeptical of the idea that it literally deletes your message/image completely afterwards.

  3. jyyoo

    Very interesting prediction! Facebook has kept saying that they will not acquire more companies, but I think they will (in order to obtain more recent technologies). I wonder what Facebook will look like in future!

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