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Monday, April 08, 2013, 09:49 pm PT (12:49 am ET)

WhatsApp exec debunks rumors of Google takeover

In a statement issued late Monday, popular messaging app WhatsApp denied claims that Google was in advanced talks to purchase the firm, the second time such a rumor has been debunked in recent memory.

WhatsApp


WhatsApp's Neeraj Arora, the company's head of business development, told AllThingsD that sales talks are not being held with Google.

It was reported on Sunday that the data-based messaging giant was well into negotiations with Google, which was supposedly considering a buyout worth $1 billion. Digital Trends published the report citing an anonymous source.

The deemed false report played into other rumors that have Google working on its own cross-platform messaging initiative dubbed "Babble." That project will supposedly bring continuity across the search giant's various services on both Android and Apple's iOS mobile operating systems.

WhatsApp has become one of the most popular third party messaging apps in the world, boasting tens of millions of users on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

During an interview in March, CEO Jan Koum revealed the pay structure of the iOS version of WhatsApp will change from a one-time fee of $0.99, to a yearly subscription model. Currently, iOS device owners can purchase the app and use it indefinitely, while users on all other mobile platforms must pay a recurring fee of $1 per year. While future iOS pricing is unknown, Koum said the subscription model would only be applicable to new users once the change is in place, with existing users being grandfathered in.