Is Facebook Gearing up for Another Massive Mobile Buy?

Facebook is reportedly in talks to acquire over-the-top (OTT) messaging service WhatsApp, according to TechCrunch.

Facebook of course bought the mobile photo sharing service Instagram for $1bn back in April, which was quickly followed by its historic IPO. Since then, the social networking giant has been trying to make headway in monetising the mobile space, a criticism which has done damage to its share prices.

While WhatsApps presence in emerging markets may be attractive to Facebook as it looks for its next billion users, the apps board has consistently been against advertising, so the partnership would require a distinct change of strategy by one side.

When WhatsApp last confirmed usage numbers back in August, 10bn messages were being sent every day. It is among the top five apps in 110 countries and is one of the most popular ever paid-for apps.

Facebook also recently unveiled a tie-in OTT voice service with Orange, Party Call, which will enable users to call their friends, one at a time or in groups, across the social network, which seems like a neat complement to the WhatsApp buyout, if it did go ahead.