Google denies bidding on WhatsApp

Android and Chrome chief Sundar Pichai refutes reports that Google competed with Facebook to buy WhatsApp.

Sundar Pichai, Google's VP in charge of Android and Chrome. James Martin/CNET

Google's Sundar Pichai has denied at Mobile World Congress that his company bid on WhatsApp, the popular mobile instant messaging and SMS app.

Pichai, senior vice president in charge of Chrome, Android, and apps, said in Barcelona this week that it was "simply untrue" that Google had offered to buy WhatsApp, reported the Telegraph.

An earlier report indicated that Google was outbid by Facebook for WhatsApp, which Mark Zuckerberg permanently friended for $19 billion. Google had reportedly offered $10 billion, according to Fortune.

Though there may not have been a formal bid from Google for WhatsApp to compete with the Facebook offer, that doesn't mean Google wasn't interested in WhatsApp. AppleInsider reported in 2013 that WhatsApp was asking Google for $1 billion, although WhatsApp denied this. If those negotiations in fact did take place, they obviously fell through.

Another report indicated that Google CEO Larry Page met with WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum in an attempt to convince him not to hook up with Zuckerberg.

Google declined to comment on the situation.

Update at 6:56 p.m.with Google declining to comment.

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