What Happens to Instagram API Developers After Facebook Acquisition?09 Apr 2012
I was going to write this story when I got an email from Qwerly after they got acquired by Fliptop, then after SimpleGeo was acquired by Urban Airship, then when I got the email from LinkedIn announcing they were shutting down IndexTank. Four acquisitions later, I’m finally making time today after the announcement of Facebook acquiring Instagram.
So, what will happen to Instagram API developers, now that Instagram is owned by Facebook? We don’t know. It sounds like Facebook will keep Instagram in tact, but who knows where it will go from here, where founder Kevin Systrom will take it, or Facebook will step in and make changes.
If your like Postagram, you’ve already diversified beyond the Instagram API and acknowledged that you need to offer more than what you can build off a single API provider. We’ve hear the cry of many developers when Twitter poaches from its ecosystem, Google decided to shutter Google Translate, then quickly decided to offer paid version--it doesn’t matter who your API provider is, nobody is immune from acquisition or their API service being shuttered.
I wanted to ask the question about Instagram API developers before the API haters, jump in and blame the API. Its not about the API, its about the API owners acknowledging their API ecosystem exists, and its developers, and whether or not they have a solid business strategy that includes having multiple suppliers for their content and products.
Hopefully you are a developer that understands the APIs you use to power your web or mobile application are potential vendors that could stay around for the next 10 years, or they could go away tomorrow with the next billion dollar acquisition--and with the right business strategy, maybe you could walk away with $400 Million, with your 40% equity, when your killer app is acquired.