Over the past year, Instagram has started to look more and more like its chief rival, Snapchat: The Facebook-owned app now has Stories, face filters, live video and disappearing messages, all features that rose to popularity as Snap creations. On April Fools' Day, Snap itself got in on the meme by appearing to "copy" Instagram.
But, as Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom pointed out on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, copying is neither new nor unique to this situation.
"Let's take Instagram, Day One: Instagram was a combination of Hipstamatic, Twitter [and] some stuff from Facebook like the 'Like' button," Systrom said. "You can trace the roots of every feature anyone has in their app, somewhere in the history of technology."
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Calling the criticism "fair," he likened the two social apps' common features to the auto industry: Multiple car companies can coexist, with enough differences among them that they serve different consumer audiences.
"Imagine the only car in the world was the Model T right now," Systrom said. "Someone invents the car, it's really cool, but do you blame other companies for also building cars that have wheels and a steering wheel and A.C. and windows? The question is, what unique stuff do you build on top of it?"