Facebook Acquires Instagram

April 9th, 2012

Facebook acquired Instagram today. Mark Zuckerberg explains why:

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.

The price is $1 billion dollars in cash and stock. Let that sink in for a second.

Both Zuckerberg and Instagram say that Instagram will remain independent.

I don’t begrudge Instagram’s founders for selling their company. There’s nothing inherently wrong with acquiring businesses or selling one. What I think this shows, though, is what Silicon Valley’s venture capital-fueled motto—”build now, get big, and figure out how to make money later”—does to companies. It ends up meaning that getting acquired is the only viable means of continuing the business, or ending it. It means that the business isn’t long for this world.

Perhaps Instagram will remain more or less the same in the future. I don’t know. But what’s sad is that a company that created the best way to share photos, a unique network where what people are doing is communicated entirely through photos, and has 30 million very loyal and very active customers, couldn’t figure out a way to make enough money to sustain the business and grow it into what they wanted it to be.