Thursday, May 24, 2012

Facebook Camera for iOS released, as social networking giant focuses on photo sharing

In early April, Facebook swallowed up Instagram, spending $1 billion dollars for the acquisition. Now the question is why, as on Thursday, Facebook released its own photo taking - and sharing - app, Facebook Camera.

The release of Facebook Camera also came less than a week after Facebook's IPO, which has received a lukewarm reception from Wall Street. Although the stock rose to $33.03 as of Thursday's close, it's still nearly $5 below the IPO offering price of $38, and lawsuits have already been filed.

The Facebook Camera app is available in the App Store. Sorry, Android fans, it's only available for iOS devices. It is free, though.

On the other hand, the aforementioned Instagram is available for both Android and iOS. Is that sufficient reason to buy it for $1 billion? Not really. Remember, too, that the Instagram deal was Zuckerberg flying solo; the board was all but out of the picture when it came to negotiations.

That doesn't mean that Zuckerberg paid $1 billion for Instagram without knowing about Facebook Camera. He obviously would have (or should have) known about it.

Facebook said, "Today, we're introducing Camera, a new mobile app that makes using Facebook photos faster and easier."

It's true. The app is quite a bit easier to use than the rather cumbersome process of adding pictures to your Facebook timeline via the main Facebook app. As has been said before, ofttimes a dedicated app or piece of hardware beats a Swiss Army knife type multi-purpose item.

Coming so soon after the Instagram deal, there's no doubt Facebook Camera was in development long before the acquisition was a mote in Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's eye. Despite any similarities between the two, if you compare market share, Facebook has 900 million users. Instagram has 40 million.

While Instagram can upload to Facebook, it's obvious there are plenty of users who are
uploading photos without using Instagram. That said, we'd expect that once the deal closes (and it still needs regulatory approval) the lines between these apps will probably blur quite a bit.

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