The big question looming over Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) is what its next move will be.
It's going to be tough to trump the social media giant's $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp on Feb. 19. [Almost as hard as it's going to be to beat the 158% price move FB stock has seen over the past year.]
While many balked at the exorbitant price paid for the five-year-old messaging app for smartphones, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees great potential in the acquisition. Referring to WhatApp's soaring growth, Zuckerberg said, "No one in the history of the world has done anything like that."
Indeed, WhatsApp is enjoying the kind of explosive growth Facebook once relished — but is no longer experiencing.
Buying WhatsApp bolsters Facebook's already solid position in the crowded messaging world. Messenger, Facebook's signature messaging app for mobile devices, is second only to WhatsApp in its share of the smartphone market.
But it's only a matter of time before the next big thing comes along. Lurking in the wings is the up-and-coming instant messaging app Kik and video messaging app Wordeo.
Facebook is well aware that some users have lost interest in its platform and have switched to other social media platforms.
In a January interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Zuckerberg said he is actively pursuing building a portfolio of apps that could stand apart from Facebook's main social network, and that users wouldn't have to log in with their Facebook credentials.
"We just think that there are all these different ways that people want to share, and that compressing them all into a single blue app is not the right format of the future," Zuckerberg said.
He went on to say, "In other words, the future of Facebook may not rest entirely on Facebook itself."
Here's a closer look at what that means for Facebook, and FB stock…