Wednesday29 March 2023

Does Facebook Camera Show That The Instagram Buy Was Only About Locking Out The Competition?

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facebook_moneyBack when Facebook bought Instagram for a cool $1 billion it was widely thought that Facebook did this to be able to compete in the mobile market against companies like Google, Apple and a few others. In fact Facebook even made the comments that they were not good at mobile and needed to figure it out as it was a week spot. Now only a few weeks after the purchase Facebook has released their own camera app that can add similar filters to your pictures in the same way that Instagram could.

The new app is called Camera (not exactly inspiring) and is (as of this writing) for Apple devices only. What Camera lets you do is to take pictures, apply some basic edits and filters (like Instagram) and then you can upload them to Facebook individually or as a batch. It is this last feature that seems to have caught the most attention from everyone that has used the app.

The one question people do want to know now is; did Facebook need to buy Instagram, or did they do it to ensure there would not be a competitor to what they had planned. From the looks of the app it is not based on Instagram code, but it is similar enough to the photo sharing application that you can bet there would have been a friendly letter from Instagram on Facebook’s door in a day or two after the launch. Now that Instagram is owned by Facebook there is no chance for any legal action. Unless someone can prove that Facebook did this to remove a competitor and to prevent a potential law suit.

Now before anyone gets too excited there are a couple of things to think about. The Facebook app is free so while Instagram would have had the legal rights to go after Facebook there would not be much more than statutory damages for copying the feel of the app. It would also be rough for anyone to show that Facebook did this to protect themselves from litigation. After all at $1 Billion to purchase Instagram, that is quite a bit of money to avoid a lawsuit.

So we can safely assume there is very little chance that this boat will float. The other option in going after Facebook is to prove that they did not want any other companies (namely Google, Apple or Microsoft) from getting their hands on the property. This although much more likely would be almost as difficult to prove as the first scenario.

In this case we feel that Facebook did see an opportunity to get rid of a potential legal hassle while at the same time making sure that no one else would be able to grab up Instagram on the back end. Of course, Now Facebook is even more splintered on mobile devices with a total of three applications, messenger, the actual Facebook app and Camera. This might shy some people away from it once the feeding frenzy of a new app is over.

We have a feeling that others might not let this one go by though. We have already heard some analyist making comments about how this app could show that Facebook does understand mobile and really just wanted the competition out of the way…


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Last modified on Friday, 25 May 2012 21:20

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