Instagram has been sitting pretty as by far the most popular photo snapping/sharing app ever since it launched with those beautiful hipster filters that make us all look cooler. It has overtaken Flickr as the most talked about photo product, and now Facebook has acquired the company for a cool $1 billion.
Instgram had just closed a $50 million round of financing at a $500 million valuation the day before Facebook swooped in and snapped up the company – doubling the money of the new investors literally overnight. Facebook obviously decided that it was a better decision to simply buy the app company with its 27 million strong army of devoted users than launch its own competing photo-sharing app. Instagram was starting to look almost like a social network itself, with users following each other’s photo-streams – and already hooked into Facebook with users’ uploads appearing in their Facebook timelines – and it appears Zuckerberg & co thought it would be better to snap them up than leave them to compete or even be snapped up by Google (who had also approached Instagram numerous times over the last 18 months).
The million+ downloads of Instagram for Android within 24 hours of release woould have likely proved to Facebook that competing with the little startup would have been much more difficult than it had first expected – pushing them towards a quick acquisition. Had Instagram remained independent and dominated iOS, Android (and rumoured WP7) photo snapping and sharing – then that may have pushed the price even higher.
In a statement about the acuqition, Mark Zuckerberg said:
I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook.
For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.
We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.
That’s why we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.
We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have more Instagram followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.
These and many other features are important parts of the Instagram experience and we understand that. We will try to learn from Instagram’s experience to build similar features into our other products. At the same time, we will try to help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure.
This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.
We’re looking forward to working with the Instagram team and to all of the great new experiences we’re going to be able to build together.