What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

Facebook to pay one billion for Instagram

Mitchell Hartman Apr 9, 2012

Kai Ryssdal: There are a couple of numbers that are gonna get us going today. The first is one billion, as in a billion dollars. That’s how much Facebook is going to pay, in cash and stock, for the mobile photo-sharing company Instagram. The second number is two, as in two years. That’s almost how long Instagram’s been around. Third and finally, a dozen, give or take. That’s how many people work at Instagram.

Roll all that up together and you get …really?

From the Marketplace Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting…Mitchell Hartman reports.

Mitchell Hartman: Instagram launched its free app for iPhone just two years ago, and for Android smartphones only last week. But it already has 30 million users. That makes it the biggest company Facebook has bought so far.

And it’s a valuable social-networking community to acquire, says Molly Wood of CNET.

Molly Wood: Everybody kind of wants to get at these particular kind of geeky hipsters who have a lot of influence in the tech community, and all of those people are on Instagram.

And she says what those hipsters think is so cool about Instagram is its photo filters. You can make your pictures look like ’70s Polaroids — sort of nostalgic and semi-professional — before you upload them.

Technology analyst Carl Howe at the Yankee Group says even at a billion dollars this acquisition makes sense. Facebook has been slow to reach mobile users, and has offered some pretty clunky photo-sharing tools to consumers.

Carl Howe: They like to share photos, and this has really replaced much of the family photo album.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post today that Instagram will continue to operate as a separate mobile app and social network.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.