Rick Webb in Betabeat:
But Zynga and Facebook? They seem more able to be toppled. It seems possible to knock them off of their throne. Two companies, OMGPOP and Instagram, came out of nowhere and became viable competitors. That’s kind of amazing. It’s amazing to me that Instagram got 30 million users in no time at all. It’s crazy that Draw Something can get 50 million downloads in 50 days. It’s mind blowing that Pinterest went from nothing to 10 million users in the blink of an eye. It’s amazing how fragile it all is. Facebook may be the first viable threat to Google, but its own market dominance is by no means assured.
This is what fascinates me about all these deals. Ultimately I question not the price or whatever net present value some analyst has Exceled out. It’s about the sheer speed with which these competitors have arisen. If Webb’s point holds true — that Facebook and Zynga could be toppled seemingly overnight — what’s stopping that from happening to Instagram and Facebook?
Besides the money, that’s the only question that matters. How ultimately sustainable are these overnight successes? If Instagram is like YouTube or Twitter it means that Instagram has become a public commons. Is it there yet? That no viable competitors have emerged since it’s creation seems to point that way. But one thing to keep in mind: app users seem to be much more fickle in their usage patterns.