Instagram blocks Mobli: The photo wars are on

When it comes to photo-sharing apps, Instagram is still leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors, and that’s unlikely to change — it’s still a growing service, and it has the resources of Facebook behind it. But that doesn’t mean Facebook’s hipper photo division isn’t keeping an eye on competition. Instagram recently blocked access to users of Mobli, a rival photo-sharing app.

Mobli has 12 million users, so it’s not even in the same league with 150 million-and-counting Instagram, but the smaller platform has deep pockets, thanks to a generous investment from Latin American super-investor Carlos Slim. And even though it’s not as well known, it offers a better roster of editing features and a more sophisticated user experience.

Instagram was the first photo-sharing app to truly distinguish itself out the gate, and it will likely maintain dominance because of its loyal and broad userbase. But Mobli has the goods and the resources to pose a real threat — and it hasn’t exactly been bashful about wanting to steal Instagram’s fans. Mobli even ran a campaign called “My Last Instagram” trying to convince people to quit Instagram forever

Mobli may have lost this round, since some users will surely lament the lost Instagram integration. But the company’s plan to focus on markets where Instagram doesn’t  have such a stronghold is wise, and it could turn into a more formidable competitor in the future. Creator Moshe Hogeg told Israeli news service Globes that he doesn’t expect his company to surpass Instagram in terms of user numbers, but he clearly hasn’t given up on snagging away a user base looking for a more robust feature roster, and this setback is unlikely to deter the app’s aggressive campaign to lure Instagram users away. 

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