EVELYN M RUSLI
Facebook is not waiting for its initial public offering (IPO) to make its first big purchase.
In its largest acquisition to date,the social network has purchased Instagram,the popular photo-sharing application,for about $1 billion in cash and stock,the company said Monday.
Its a notable move for Facebook,which has exclusively focused on bite-size acquisitions,worth less than $100 million.
With Instagram,Facebook will get a formidable mobile player an area that is seen as a weakness for the sprawling social network. Founded two years ago,the service which lets users share photos and apply stylised filters has become one of the most downloaded applications on the iPhone,with some 30 million users. Instagram released a version of its application for Googles Android operating system last week.
On Monday,both companies expressed their commitment to run Instagram as an independent service. In a post on his profile page,Facebooks chief Mark Zuckerberg said Instagram would continue to work with rival social networks. That will allow users to post on other services,follow users outside of Facebook,and to opt out of sharing on Facebook.
For years,weve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family, Zuckerberg wrote. Now,well 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.
In a separate blog post on Instagrams web site,the companys chief executive,Kevin Systrom,also reiterated plans to preserve the services functionality and said he looked forward to leveraging the new parent companys resources and talent.