First of all: a billion dollars is a mighty smack of money. It is a huge pile of cash. It can buy you enough bread to feed a midsize African country for a decade, it can buy you some nice stealth fighters, a private island, or it can buy you -give or take some change- the New York Times (market cap $942m).
So, for the 13 man strong team of Instagram, to say no to the whopping 1.000.000.000 dollar cash pile that Facebook’s Marc Zuckerberg slammed on the table would have been very difficult. 1 billion dollars is a lot of reasons. 1 billion offers the Instagram people a golden future where they will not have to work, and can dream of white sanded beaches and chilled long drinks a-go-go. On a super yacht.
For us all, it just means that one of the favorite picture sharing tools together with the 1 billion pictures we jointly posted on it, became Facebook’s property. It solidifies Facebook’s position as the social network that is weaving a very tight web around your social life, and your social data. It strengthens Facebook’s position as the leading social stack on the web. It also patches one of Facebook’s Achilles Tendons: a good picture sharing platform.
Personally, I look at this a bit weary eyed. Remember Facebook buying Gowalla in December? It killed the service in March, buried the technology, the platform and its users in the darkest dungeon of Facebook Towers. I hope Zuckerberg will keep the good of Instagram alive. I loved the simple technology, the slightly cheesy filters, and the buzzing sharing community. I hope the buy was not a capitalist hostile takeover version of cease and desist. I sincerely hope to be spared the sad duty of having to write an in memoriam for Instagram over the next couple of months. I hate eulogies.
But I do not share the crazy-panicking Internet frenzy on the new acquisition by Facebook. If Facebook kills Instagram, other picture sharing networks will pop up. Zuckerberg bought Instagram because he wanted it, Zuckerberg bought Instagram because he can.
He can, because we all allow him to… don’t we?