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Forget the botched Instagram launch: Windows Phone is on the march

Updated Nov 21st, 2013 11:32AM EST
Instagram Windows Phone Launch Analysis

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Instagram is finally coming to Microsoft’s Windows Phone. Though the rollout looks to be sloppy initially, with several features not being available at launch, it’s an enormous opportunity for San Francisco-based Instagram, as well as Microsoft, given the growing popularity of Windows Phone.

According to IDC, Windows Phone had the largest year-over-year growth in any of the major four operating systems, sporting 156% year-over-year growth to 9.5 million smartphones shipped in the third quarter. That was up from 3.7 million phones in the second quarter of 2012, demonstrating that more people, especially in emerging markets, are starting to take off.

Nokia accounted for 93.2% of all the Windows Phone smartphones in the quarter, making the Windows Phone version of Instagram a particularly Nokia-centric app. Given the popularity of Instagram on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, this seems like a no-brainer move for Instagram. Instagram, which was bought by Facebook in 2012 for just over $700 million in cash and stock, already has 150 million members around the world, so it makes sense to expand to other platforms, albeit haphazardly.

The Instagram app for Windows Phone is just a beta, and you can’t do such things as take pictures from inside the app, view geotaxis, tag photos and upload videos yet with the app. Those features are coming, though probably not any time soon. What you can do with the app is go into the camera roll, and then apply Instagram filters to your pictures, and then share them on the social network.

In the beginning, I’d expect adoption of the Instagram app to be low, but as time passes, and more features are turned on, adoption can be expected to increase. It’s a rather curious decision why Instagram wouldn’t roll out the app with all of its functionality at the beginning, and may wind up stunting overall growth because of it.

There are an average of 55 million photos per day on Instagram, with more than 16 billion photos shared.

Expanding the social network into other platforms is important, especially as Instagram starts to turn itself into a business. There were more than 211 million smartphones shipped during the quarter, as people, especially in emerging markets, turn to smartphones for all their computing needs. By expanding operating systems, Instagram increases its reach with advertisers who may cater more towards emerging markets, as well as developed ones.

Instagram’s first ad, from designer Michael Kors, has largely been well received, with over 230,000 people liking the ad. That becomes important to Instagram, as it tries to generate advertising revenue for Facebook.

The move to Windows Phone was inevitable for Instagram, as it looks to increase its reach and scope among mobile device users. It’s a move in the right direction for Instagram and Windows Phone, even if it’s going to be bumpy in the beginning.

Chris Ciaccia
Chris Ciaccia Contributing Writer

Chris Ciaccia contributes an expert business perspective to BGR. A former tech reporter at Fox News, Chris was also science and tech editor at the Daily Mail and previously was the tech editor at

Ciaccia has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Seton Hall University.