Facebook has completed its acquistion of mobile photo-sharing service Instagram, Techcrunch reports.
Mark Zuckerberg announced the news in a letter on his timeline. “I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook,” he said. “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.”
Facebook appears to have acquired Instagram mainly for its userbase. Over 27 million people have signed up for the service using iOS alone. Instagram also recently launched an Android version of their popular photo-sharing app.
Earlier reports had Facebook working on their own photo-sharing app, but it appears Facebook has gone ahead and acquired an outside solution instead. In this case, Facebook is acting more like an established player than a startup, which seems fitting considering their recent IPO.
You might expect Facebook to integrate Instagram’s product into Facebook, never to be heard from again. Facebook, however, appears to still give Instagram a degree of autonomy, letting it continue as a separate product.
“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,” Zuckerberg.
“This is a really big departure from the way Zuckerberg has historically run Facebook as a single product,” Josh Constine, writing for TechCrunch, said. “He has always been insistent that everything feed back into Facebook itself. Keeping Instagram as a separate product and brand is reminiscent of what Google has done with keeping YouTube and Android as separate fiefdoms within the company following their acquisitions.”
Instagram’s data will still pass through Facebook’s infrastructure, and that will give them access to the data, which in turn will give them access to advertisers, Facebook’s bread and butter.
You might want to check out a post on what Facebook might have looked like if it existed in the 1990s, or an infographic on the Facebook timeline of social commerce.