Kevin Systrom: No, Facebook didn't steal Instagram from Twitter
Despite the stories and the rumors, Facebook did not steal Instagram from under Twitter's nose in 2012's hottest acquisition, Kevin Systrom said at PandoMonthly in San Francisco tonight.
When Sarah Lacy asked the Instagram founder if there was any truth to the tales that Mark Zuckberg swept Systrom out of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey's arms, he said, alas, there was not.
"Jack's been a great friend for a very long time, and that's absolutely not what happened," said Systrom. He agreed that Twitter aligns with Instagram in a lot of different ways, but said the rumors were inaccurate. "People look for conflict, and they look for a story," he said. "A lot of times, small details get exaggerated." There was no way he was playing off one suitor against the other. "That's not the way I do business."
In fact, Twitter didn't even put an offer on the table for Instagram. Instead, Zuckerberg and Systrom settled the deal under very mundane circumstances over hamburgers. "It was just an independent decision that I made at the time, and I thought that Facebook's vision and our vision aligned."
Update: New York Times' Nick Bilton has a story on Bits Blog in which his sources contest Systrom's version of events. Specifically, Bilton's report says Twitter and Instagram had verbally agreed on an acquisition price of $525 million in cash, plus Twitter shares.
[Image from Pandomonthly audience member Renée Berry]