$1B for Instagram? For Zuckerberg, That’s Just the Price for Popularity

Photography by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

In this April 7, 2011 photo, CEO Kevin Systrom, at left, works alongside engineer Shayne Sweeney at Instagram in San Francisco.

One thing we know about Mark Zuckerberg is that he’s a big fan of eyeballs. That would explain the $1 billion the Facebook CEO just shelled out for Instagram, which is currently more popular on Apple and Google devices than Facebook.

Instagram just launched its Android product last week and it’s already the top-ranked free app not made by Google (No. 3 overall, behind Google voice search and maps). Facebook ranks No. 8 on Android. And in the iPhone App Store, Instagram is second among free apps, while Facebook is 26th — even though it’s the most popular of all time.

Instagram may not be making money, but anyone who has followed Facebook’s progress over the past eight years knows that doesn’t concern Zuckerberg. He just wants users by the boatload, because without popularity, there’s no money.

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