Surprise! Facebook now owns Instagram. The social network has paid a staggering £630,000,000 to acquire the photo-sharing app and its 30 million-strong user-base
Facebook shocked the tech world on Easter Monday by announcing it has agreed to buy the Instagram photo-sharing service for a massive $1 billion (£630m).
The social network's CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the acquisition on his own Facebook page, claiming the massively-popular iPhone and now Android app will help the company develop its own photo-sharing experience.
Both Zuckerberg and Instagram founder and CEO Kevin Systrom made clear that the app will remain an independent entity which will retain all of the features that helped it gain 30 million users in just two years, a figure which has doubled from 15m in December 2011.
Zuckerberg says: "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."
The Instagram team, including Systrom will be joining Facebook who will be paying for the company in cash and stock.
Systrom himself, who runs the six-person billion dollar company, has assured his faithful users that they'll see no changes to the service, aside from new features the company is committed to working on.
"The Instagram app will still be the same one you know and love. You'll still have all the same people you follow and that follow you. You'll still be able to share to other social networks. And you'll still have all the other features that make the app so fun and unique."
It is yet unclear what Facebook intends to do with Instagram in the long-run. Zuckerberg says he's excited for all of the "great new experiences we're going to be able to build together," but how they'll take shape is anyone's guess.
Instagram could certainly offer Facebook users the advantage of neater editing tools, the introduction of retro filters and a simplified uploading process. For Facebook itself, it eliminates what was becoming a dangerous competitor in the mobile space. On the surface, this looks like a smart move.