April 13, 2012
When Facebook bought photo-sharing company Instagram on Monday, reactions ranged from excited fist pumps to apocalyptic predictions. We grabbed several Ologists and asked them to duke it out over the pros and cons. Here’s what they had to say:
So Facebook bought Instagram. Now not only are mustache-sporting amateur photographers everywhere (we’ll call them “hipsters”) worried about even more uncool people clouding up their feed (read: Android users), but millions are yelling “sellout!” at poor Instagram. Seriously? If Facebook offered you $1 billion for your simple and well-designed app, you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t “sell out” before you could say the word “hipster.”
Oh, and let’s not mention the fact that no one has ever paid anything for the app. They are just using borrowed server space. Instagram users should be praising this amazing app success story, which they contributed to! I mean, seriously, coming up with an application so successful that Zuck himself wanted to buy it? That’s a one-in-a-billion chance.
And if you’re someone who thinks that Facebook is going to ruin the application by adding whatever stuff they add into apps, read beyond the headlines. Press releases from both companies say that Instagram will still be operating independently.
This deal is different from previous acquisitions, like Gowalla and FriendFeed. Why? For one, Instagram is already insanely popular. In fact, this is the first time Facebook has acquired a company with an existing user base of this size (over 30 million). Instagram was downloaded more than 5 million times in its first six days on the Android marketplace and has skyrocketed to the number-one spot in the iOS App Store in the days following Monday’s announcement.
I understand the concern. Few companies that are bought out by larger corporations continue to flourish. But remember in 2006 when Google acquired a little company called YouTube? Let’s face it: Instagram’s growth has been a painful one. Android users had to wait over a year to share sepia-toned photos of mustaches with their friends. Like YouTube with Google, think of all the resources from Facebook that are now at the disposal of Instagram.
The folks at Facebook are not stupid. You don’t throw $1 billion at an app to shut it down or run it into the ground. They recognize its potential and the importance of photo sharing. My gut tells me they are only going to improve upon an already great application.