Soon after Facebook agreed to pay $1 billion for Instagram, social networking rival Twitter considered acquiring a mobile photo-sharing application called Camera+, two people with knowledge of the negotiations said.
Twitter executives held several meetings with Camera+ developer Tap Tap Tap, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks were private. The talks broke down before Twitter could make an offer because the startup’s far-flung workforce was reluctant to relocate to San Francisco, they said. While 10 employees are already based there, Tap Tap Tap has 20 others in Austria, New Zealand, Spain and elsewhere.
Like Instagram, Camera+ lets users take photographs with an iPhone, tweak the colors and share them on its own social network or through Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter had expressed interest in buying Instagram in recent months, the New York Times reported last month. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and executive chairman, had invested in Instagram, and frequently posted pictures using the app. He said in an interview with Charlie Rose last week that Instagram has more in common with Twitter than with Facebook. His point was that people rely heavily on Twitter and Instagram to post items instantly from mobile phones.
Two hours before Facebook announced its deal on April 9, Dorsey uploaded a photo on Instagram of a San Francisco bus. Two days later, he added his first picture to his Camera+ profile, and hasn’t posted to Instagram since.
Dorsey helped lead the negotiations with Tap Tap Tap, according to the people with knowledge of the talks. Twitter Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo wasn’t directly involved, they said. Carolyn Penner, a Twitter spokeswoman, declined to comment.
Costolo told reporters in Japan two weeks ago that Twitter wouldn’t alter its strategy or seek to acquire an Instagram competitor to counter Facebook’s move.
The Camera+ iPhone app, which costs 99 cents, has been downloaded 7.5 million times in about two years. Instagram, which debuted four months after Camera+, has 50 million people signed up to use its free software that runs on Google’s Android system and Apple’s iPhone.
–With assistance from Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo.