Facebook buys Instagram for $1 billion

Screenshot from http://instagr.am/
Facebook Inc has agreed to buy the Instagram photo-sharing/editing mobile application for about $1 billion in cash and stock. The purchase of Instagram will be the social network's largest acquisition ever.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted about the acquisition on his profile: "I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook."

Zuckerburg recognized the purchase as a milestone for Facebook, as the company had never acquired a product and company with so many users.  He also said similar purchases would be few and far between in the future. 

Recognizing fears Instagram would simply be absorbed into Facebook, Zuckerberg also wrote “we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently.

Zuckerberg said the key to Instagram was its connection to services beyond Facebook.  “We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook,'' he said.

Facebook said the transaction will likely close by the end of June.

Instagram, which has been described as the default photo app for smartphones, has gained 30 million users since it was first launched in Apple’s App Store in October 2010.

After being released on the Google-owned Android platform, the app surpassed 1 million downloads in less than 24 hours.

Instagram allows users to take pictures and edit them with 17 filters. Two such filters provided a retro feel reminiscent of both Polaroid and Kodak Instamatic cameras.

The acquisition is also likely to boost Facebook’s upcoming IPO (initial public offering) as Instagram’s  team of 10, as well as its millions of users, will now fall under the massive social networking service's umbrella.

Facebook is expected to complete its initial public offering of stock next month.