Yesterday the news was out that Facebook had reached an agreement to acquire the company Instagram for a figure in the region of USD$1 billion. The $1,000,000,000 transaction, set to be completed by the end of the quarter, is a mixture of both cash and Facebook shares. Although Instagram seems sluggish in its development processes (only recently was the Android version released), it seems to have a grasp of mobile trends that Facebook so desperately wants and the social media goliath was craving this new addition to their photo sharing portfolio for a while.
Despite the announcement that the Instagram team will be fully integrated into Facebook‘s own, people have still jumped on the “Facebook will ruin Instagram” bandwagon early. Possibly because it seems like the safest bet that Facebook wants to eliminate a threat, possibly because they are worried that Facebook will have even more access to their personality. Flip the idea on its head and you start to wonder why a company would funnel one billion dollars into a demolition job and the notion becomes too perplexing to be viable. Mark Zuckerberg himself specifically mentions in his press release that they will be “building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.”
Don’t believe him? In reality, it has all of the hallmarks of the Google-YouTube acquisition. Instagram will remain “independent” (Zuck’s words, not mine) within Facebook and the aim is not to make it just an app inside of the mothership but to spread the brand “separately” (once again, not my words). Why is this similar to YouTube? After the USD$1.65 billion agreement was finalised people thought that YouTube was going to be lost in the Video section of Google. That would surely have been a distinctly bad choice from Google’s part – but they didn’t, they kept the brand and team autonomous and it has been a beautiful piece of strategy (despite Google losing plenty of cash in the early days to keep her running, the popularity of its streams has become unrivalled).
The idea that Facebook could in fact take Instagram to new and improved heights seems to be reserved to the minority thus far. With 30 million people (the amount of Instagram users) to their name, Instagram will have a wealth of new resources to make their company grow at more sustainable levels and provide their brilliant service. Facebook’s engineering team are a force to be reckoned with, Facebook’s stockpile of cash will also help and the infrastructure that the company has to offer is second-to-none. Instagram was built from love by the small team that governed it and it is pretty clear that (after many supposed offers over a few years) Zuckerberg loves it too. The app is in good hands, still the owner’s ones, and by sitting on the shoulder of a giant, their vision can now expand and be actualised more quickly.