Facebook to buy Instagram for $1 billion. Why so much?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans on Monday to acquire the photo sharing app Instagram. What could the future of their partnership hold?

Fred Prouser/Reuters
Facebook announced on Monday that it will pay $1 billion in cash and stock for photo-sharing application Instagram, making its largest-ever acquisition months before the No. 1 social media website is expected to go public.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s acquisition of the popular photo sharing app Instagram on Monday afternoon. Facebook “is planning” to pay $1 billion in cash and stock for the apps and connected social network.

“For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. “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.”

He assured people that Instagram would remain a relatively independent entity. Users will still be able to post photos to other social networks and opt out of posting them on Facebook altogether.

“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,” the post said. “We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.”

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom released a statement on the company blog, further assuring users that while the companies will be joining forces, Facebook won’t monopolize Instagram. Instead, they say, each will help the other flourish.

“It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away,” he wrote. “We’ll be working with Facebook to evolve Instagram and build the network. We’ll continue to add new features to the product and find new ways to create a better mobile photos experience.”

Instagram rose to popularity after its Oct. 2010 release and now has 30 million iPhone users, as well as at least one million on Android. After releasing Instagram for Android on April 3rd – a highly-anticipated move that had 430,000 Android users on a waiting list – the photo sharing app vastly increased its potential value. By expanding beyond iOS, Instagram may be able to double its membership, something that Facebook must have been aware of.

Apple deemed Instagram its “definitive” app of 2010 because it’s “near-impossible to take a bad shot,” according to The Washington Post. The app lets users take filtered photos in black and white, sepia, and tens of other settings. Users can share their photos with other users and view popular images and comment or “like” them.

Instagram has a similar interface to Facebook, which also only allows fellow members to comment or “like” each other’s posts.

We can only wait to see what comes of Facebook’s acquisition, but one thing is clear – one of the world’s most influential companies just got a bit more powerful.

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