WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton have reportedly had quite a contentious relationship with both Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg since Facebook acquired the messaging app in 2014 for $22 billion. According to a new Wall Street Journal report, both Koum and Acton tried to stave off advertising on its platform. Meanwhile Facebook–known globally as the king of digital ads–long wanted to add ads and reap the benefits.
Beyond these business model differences, the internal squabbles extended to smaller, more personal aspects. For instance, the WhatsApp founders were reportedly not happy about the office they were given when Facebook moved the app’s operations to its campus in Menlo Park.
The WSJ writes that Facebook employees noticed that their new colleagues were given better amenities, including nicer bathrooms and bigger desks. Even so, the app’s founders still had issues:
Mr. Koum chafed at the constraints of working at a big company, sometimes quibbling with Mr. Zuckerberg and other executives over small details such as the chairs Facebook wanted WhatsApp to purchase, a person familiar with the matter said.
Beyond philosophical divides and desk amenities, the problems seemed to reflect vast differences in workplace culture. “These little ticky-tacky things add up in a company that prides itself on egalitarianism,” one Facebook employee told the Journal.
With Facebook scrambling to make money on the insanely pricey acquisition, and Koum and Acton’s long-held aversion to advertising, clashes seemed inevitable. In the end, the two founders decided to part ways with Facebook at different times last year, and left billions of dollars worth of unvested stock on the table in their pursuit to be free.
You can read the full WSJ story here.