A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but is a photo-sharing app worth $1 billion? The answer is apparently yes, as Facebook announced an agreement to acquire Instagram for roughly that amount in cash and shares in the social network.
Facebook said it expects to close the transaction later in the second quarter of 2012. Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in a status update that the two companies will remain independent, and that Instagram users will still have the ability to post to multiple social networks.
There was speculation last year that Facebook was planning to roll out a series of photo filters, in part to compete with apps like Instagram. By acquiring Instagram, Facebook now has the best of both worlds.
The social network has continued to improve its photo viewer, and adding support from the Instagram team will likely lead to further refinements.
Zuckerberg’s status update on the Instagram deal read:
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 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.
And Instagram Chief Executive Officer Kevin Systrom said in a post on the Instagram blog:
When Mike Krieger and I started Instagram nearly two years ago, we set out to change and improve the way the world communicates and shares. We’ve had an amazing time watching Instagram grow into a vibrant community of people from all around the globe. Today, we couldn’t be happier to announce that Instagram has agreed to be acquired by Facebook.
Every day that passes, we see more experiences being shared through Instagram in ways that we never thought possible. It’s because of our dedicated and talented team that we’ve gotten this far, and with the support and cross-pollination of ideas and talent at a place like Facebook, we hope to create an even more exciting future for Instagram and Facebook alike.
It’s important to be clear that Instagram is not going away. 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.
The Instagram app will still be the same one you know and love. You’ll still have all the same people you follow and that follow you. You’ll still be able to share to other social networks. And you’ll still have all the other features that make the app so fun and unique.
We’re psyched to be joining Facebook and are excited to build a better Instagram for everyone.
Readers: What changes do you think Facebook will make to its photo-sharing process now that it owns Instagram?