Insta-Face: A Picture Worth $1Billion Dollars

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A photo of Instagram's Facebook page, filtered through Instagram. (Los Angeles Times / April 9, 2012)

Only 2 years in the making and a registered user base of 30 million on iOS alone, Instragram becomes the largest acquisition for the social networking heavyweight. The news last week that Instragram was launching on Android already got the photo app another million users with potential for millions more.

Facebook had to act. The app was becoming a social network in it’s own right, thus stepping on the photo-sharing and tagging giants toes and just asking for a reaction. Not a bad one, I might add. With a 40% stake in the company, CEO Kevin Systrom walked out of the deal $400 million dollars richer, with the rest split by investors and employees.  Not bad considering the app had yet to develop any revenue stream, but Facebook must have something up it’s sleeves.

The move also signals a departure from Facebook’s usual acquisition strategy in letting Instagram operate as it’s own entity, akin to Google’s Android or YouTube operations.

Not everyone’s happy (that would be impossible), the deal sparked a backlash on Twitter from existing users vowing to delete their account from the usual frustration. That of losing their place in what was originally a hub for photographers and photography enthusiasts to now including the entire Facebook community, only a couple of a hundred million users more, I suppose.

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Humayun Khan 

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