“Had Facebook been built today, it would be mobile.”
That was a casual statement made last Thursday by James Pearce, head of mobile developer relations for Facebook to a small group of writers (including myself) during a lunch at Facebook HQ.
I thought Pearce’s statement was intriguing, but it got a whole lot more interesting Monday morning when Facebook dropped $1 billion to buy its biggest competitor in the mobile space: Instagram.
Instagram was beating Facebook at its own game, and the social network needed to stop it before it was able to do more.
The photo-sharing app is essentially everything Facebook wants to be on your mobile phone. Facebook wants people using its mobile app to share photos of what they’re doing with friends and to share their location -– something Instagram users have no problem doing.
“For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family.” Zuckerberg said in the announcement Monday. “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.”
Instagram was already huge. With the launch of its Android app last week it was poised to get even bigger, fast. While the company was valued at $500 million just before the Facebook buyout, it could certainly have grown to a $1 billion valuation on its own.
Adding Android support also puts the photo-sharing app in the hands of much of the smartphone-carrying population. Add a desktop app into the mix –- there are a few unofficial ones available already -– and you’ve got a fully-fledged social network on your hands.
“This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users,” Zuckerberg said. “We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.
“But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.”
Facebook wasn’t just buying an app. They were buying out the competition.
Read more at Mashable.com