Yesterday, Facebook released some of the most surprising news of the year so far, that the social network has purchased Instagram for $1 billion, or nearly £630 million. This comes just a few days after the app was released for Android, after being an iOS exclusive since its release.
It’s also a few months after the photo startup was valued at $500 million, indicating Facebook was very, very keen to snap up the popular app. The money paid is a combination of cash and shares in Facebook, and the deal is expected to close by the end of June.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote about the acquisition on his Timeline, saying the site has ‘focused on building the best experience for sharing photos’ and that Instagram‘s strengths as a mobile photo sharing app will compliment its efforts well.
Facebook will learn from Instagram‘s success as a mobile photo app, and will provide engineering and infrastructure support to them in return. Zuckerberg sums the merger up by saying as Facebook already offers ‘the best photo sharing experience … we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.’
Those concerned that Instagram will be radically changing, or worse being swallowed up by Facebook, should find some solace in CEO Kevin Systrom’s words. He wrote on his official blog that the ‘Instagram app will still be the same one you know and love’ but they will be ‘working with Facebook to evolve and build the network.’
One possible reason for Facebook purchasing Instagram has been offered by Gigaom.com’s Om Malik, who said for the first time in its life, Facebook recognized it had a competitor that could ‘not only eat its lunch, but also destroy its future.’ However, it was a problem that could clearly be solved with a very, very big cheque.
There’s sure to be some fallout though, as Instagram‘s move to Android upset enough people, and Facebook can command just as much hatred; so expect to see a few users moving on to one of the alternative photo-sharing apps in the near future.
Everyone else can look forward to seeing Instagram even more tightly integrated into your Facebook timeline, plus, either an updated Facebook app or potentially, an entirely new dedicated photo app from the social network.