It may be the tech acquisition everyone’s talking about, but Facebook’s $19 billion buyout of WhatsApp is just one step along the way of Mark Zuckerberg’s larger-than-life quest: to connect every single person on the planet.
Zuckerberg joined Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick onstage at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress Monday to talk WhatsApp, the future of communications, and, most salient in Zuckerberg’s mind, his global connectivity initiative Internet.org. Launched in August 2013, Internet.org is a global partnership between Facebook, Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, and Qualcomm, which positions Internet access as a human right.
Kirkpatrick, who is also a Bloomberg contributing editor, appeared on Bloomberg West following his keynote talk with Zuckerberg. “It’s amazing, the continuing growth of the scope of Facebook’s vision,” Kirkpatrick told host Emily Chang, calling Zuckerberg’s long-term plans for global connectivity “impressive.”
Kirkpatrick gave credit, too, to Zuckerberg’s COO Sheryl Sandberg. “[Zuckerberg] has somebody who’s his close partner, who’s a master business person, who has got the company on an extraordinary profit projectory,” he said, adding that Sandberg’s business acumen gives Zuckerberg the “luxury of having this surprising, big picture, optimistic, aggressive, futuristic vision for how Facebook can play a positive role literally in the planet’s future.”
The Mobile World Congress keynote conversation also touched on the NSA surveillance scandal and messaging app Snapchat.