25 Things Facebook Could Have Bought Instead of Instagram

Instagram LogoWhen the news hit that Facebook had purchased Instagram for $1 billion I was eating lunch with my Fantuition cofounder Joe Garstka.

Joe’s immediate reaction was “Would you rather have 200 $5 million dollar houses, or Instagram?”

A great question. For the record, I think Facebook paying $1 billion to take out their most threatening future competitor was worth it no matter what happens to Instagram within Facebook’s control. Just think about how better positioned Yahoo! would be today had it acquired Facebook for $1 billion back when they almost did a few years ago. Yahoo! could have either leveraged Facebook to massive success, or killed Facebook off and they’d still own more of the consumer and advertising market they’ve lost to Facebook.

Whether you agree or not, that’s still a lot of money. What could Facebook have bought instead of Instagram? Let’s explore…

  1. 200 $5 million houses in Palo Alto
  2. 1,000 $1 million houses
  3. A used B-2 Bomber
  4. The New York Times Company (valued at $967 Million)
  5. All 66 of the most recent YCombinator Startups (gotta be a breakout startup in there right?)
  6. Yahoo!’s Core US Business
  7. AOL’s Patent Portfolio
  8. All the Facebook Mafia Companies: Path, Quora, Asana, Causes, GoodRx
  9. Yelp (when the stock drops a little)
  10. Every other mobile photo or video sharing application
  11. Pinterest (maybe)
  12. Foursquare
  13. AppNexus
  14. Spotify
  15. Rovio (Angry Birds)
  16. Gilt Groupe
  17. Tumblr
  18. 2 million of the New iPads
  19. Myspace, Friendster, Orkut, Bebo, and you’d still have about $990M in cash leftover
  20. The San Francisco 49ers (change name to San Francisco Likes)
  21. A small country (How about the Maldives?)
  22. A $20,000 hotel room every night for 137 years
  23. Ten $100M yachts (one for each of Zuckerberg’s direct reports!)
  24. Pay for 48 hours of the military activity against Afghanistan and Iraq
  25. Send a $20 bill to all 50 million Instagram user bribing them to use Facebook’s mobile app for photo sharing

If you were Facebook, would you buy any of those things instead of Instagram?

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