This past spring, we were thrown for a bit of a loop when Facebook scooped up app darling Instagram for $1 billion. Since then, the FTC has approved the deal and Facebook has integrated the photo-sharing platform exclusively into its network. And now, officially, the two are combining their efforts.
“As we said from the beginning, we are committed to building and growing Instagram independently,” VP of engineering with Facebook Mike Schroepfer wrote this morning. “Instagram will continue to service its community, and we will help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure. We also can’t wait to work with the talented Instagram team to improve the mobile experience.”
Instagram had similarly glowing words to say about the partnership, also mentioning the app has just surpassed five billion photos shared. “What makes this even more exciting is that our deal with Facebook has closed, which means we can now work together to evolve and build a better Instagram for everyone. While our term is making the short move to the Facebook offices, Instagram isn’t going anywhere.”
Despite both companies’ positive outlooks, it’s more than fair for users to be skeptical in the wake of an acquisition like this. Facebook has a made a name for itself as an acqui-hirer, scooping up companies and folding their teams into its own products, slowly extinguishing theirs in the process. But since the very beginning of this deal, and really since the startup’s origins, we’ve all known that Instagram is an exception to the rule. To say it’s user growth and content shared has passed all expectations is a huge understatement, and a significant part of Facebook’s need to acquire it.
The particulars of the deal saw Instagram net $735 million, and its worth will now depend on Facebook’s – which at the moment, is a bit in flux. News about Facebook shares has nearly become synonymous with “all-time low.” Last week, they dropped to $17.55 – you guessed it, another all-time low since peaking at $45 on day one of trading. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced he doesn’t plan to sell his shares for the next year in order to promote some confidence in his eyebrow-raising company’s value.
Still, Instagram’s fate seems safe. While the deal has been in the process of being finalized, Instagram has continued to issue big iterations and grow its user base. There are a few questions worth asking – like when or even if Instagram will ever make its way to the Web and how that would look and integrate with Facebook. Other questions remain as well, like just what it’s roadmap for a Windows Phone app is, how will its own photo development line up with that of its new acquisition, and whether Facebook will try to take Instagram’s mobile success and introduce any sort of marketing or advertising structure?
For now, news of the deal’s official status will have to suffice. The rest remains to be seen.