) -- along with a slew of major tech companies, including
(OTCMKTS:OPESY) -- announced
, an initiative to bring the Internet to the entire world. As the
organization's press release read, "Today, the Internet isn't
accessible for two-thirds of the world. Imagine a world where it
connects us all."
Now, Facebook has acquired Onavo, an Israeli company that
specializes in data compression, which allows users to use less
data on their
) smartphones or tablets. Mobile data actually costs a lot more in
the developing world than it does in the US or Europe, so data
compression could help mobile phone users in Africa or South
America overcome prohibitive data costs.
According to the Israeli daily business newspaper
(which is a Hebrew wordplay on
Facebook will pay between $150 million and $200 million for Onavo.
Previously, the data compression company had raised about $13
million in venture capital from Sequoia Capital, Magma Venture
Partners, Horizons Ventures, and Motorola Mobility Ventures. Coming
after its estimated $70 million purchase of mobile app developer
Snaptu in 2011 and its $100 million purchase of face recognition
platform Face.com in 2012, the acquisition is Facebook's third and
largest in Israel. Moreover, it is the first time that an Israeli
company acquired by Facebook will keep its office in Israeli,
meaning that Facebook will have its first research and development
center in the country.
Onavo already has users in the developed world who employ its
platform to lower costs and minimize roaming fees, and these users
need not fear, as the company will continue to offer its services
under its own name.
A lot of debate, speculation, and outright skepticism followed
Facebook's announcement of Internet.org, but the Onavo acquisition
seems at least to be a move in the right direction. Considering the
fact that Google, the World Wide Web Foundation, and Facebook have
also launch a new initiative on this front, the
Alliance for Affordable
, it would appear that this movement is gaining traction.
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