Writing in (where else) a status update from Palo Alto this morning, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his company has agreed to purchase San Francisco-based social photography app Instagram for a reported $1 billion in cash and stock.
According to Zuckerberg's press release, the wildly popular iPhone app, which recently caused a stir with an Android version, won't simply be lumped in with the rest of Facebook's services, but will continue to be developed as an independent product. To quote Zuck:
I'm excited to share the news that we've agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook.
For years, we've focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. 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.
We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram's strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.
That's why we're committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.
We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. 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.
Zuckerberg goes on to explain why this is a big deal for Facebook (aside from the massive price tag, that is), which has yet to hit the market with it's IPO:
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. 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.
We're looking forward to working with the Instagram team and to all of the great new experiences we're going to be able to build together.
Expect (even more) sepia-tinged artsy cat shots, and toaster-filtered photos of all your high school friends' babies to start popping up in your News Feed any minute now.