According to Fortune, Google tried to buy WhatsApp before Facebook tried to get its hands on it, bidding $10 billion for the product before the app flew into Mark Zuckerberg's lair.
While it might be easy for you or I to think the $16 billion bid from Facebook would have made it an obvious choice over Google's bid, Facebook also added the extra incentive of bringing on WhatsApp's CEO, Jan Koum, as a board member. The report was confirmed by two unnamed sources by Fortune, but there were no details of how long ago these negotiations might have taken place. Allegedly, Koum interrupted a private dinner at Zuckerberg's home to finalize the deal, which Zuckerberg had first brought up on February 9. They worked out the details over chocolate covered strawberries.
WhatsApp users shouldn't expect any changes to the app any time soon, according the the company, since the idea is to run it independently of Facebook much like Instagram. But if Instagram's tweaks over the past year are any indication, changes will be on the horizon.
Meanwhile, why isn't BBM (which has been around a lot longer) not valued as much as WhatsApp?