Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger have announced they are to leave the Facebook-owned company.
Systrom, the CEO who has remained the public face of Instagram since it sold to Facebook in 2012, says the pair are departing to ‘explore our curiosity and creativity again’. In a blog post on Tuesday, Systrom says the pair will ‘take a step back’ in order to understand what inspires them and ‘match that with what the world needs’.
Naturally, given the $1 billion sale price Instagram commanded in 2012, the app’s co-founders will have a much larger budget to explore and create than they did a decade ago.
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Systrom added: “We remain excited for the future of Instagram and Facebook in the coming years as we transition from leaders to two users in a billion. We look forward to watching what these innovative and extraordinary companies do next.”
However, today’s news comes amid suggestions of a growing rift between Systrom, Kreiger and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, likely over the future direction of the Instagram app and associated products.
CFRA analyst Scott Kessler says (via Guardian): “Our sense is the duo may have wanted to run Instagram more independently than their parent company wanted.”
Om Malik, of the VC firm True Ventures also told the Guardian: “I’m astonished they stayed this long. The peace lasted for seven years, but in the last few months things must have started to go wrong pretty badly.”
With the co-founders riding off into the sunset to fund a new creative calling, Facebook has now cleared the road to do whatever it wants with Instagram.
For his part, Zuckerberg said in a statement: “Kevin and Mike are extraordinary product leaders and Instagram reflects their combined creative talents. I’ve learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it. I wish them all the best.”
Is referring to them simply as ‘product leaders’ a parting jibe, from the under-fire Facebook CEO?
Do you fear for the future of Instagram now there’s no buffer between it and the Facebook machine? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.