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Instagram Strikes Back Against Rival Mobli

Instagram and Mobli are at odds. When Israel-based photo-sharing app Mobli initiated a contest against top photo-sharing website Instagram in March 2013, it was only a matter of time before reprisal and retaliation. Now Instagram’s clock has expired.

According to reports, Instagram has provided Mobli access to its API for one and a half years until now. Before the blockage, Mobli users could directly upload Instagram content to their feeds in a single tap of a button.

After the decision, Instagram explained that its API policies clearly state that any application or attempt to replicate or replace its intrinsic user experience is in violation of its terms of use, and that there is a dedicated team of reviewers who administers these policies.

Instagram, now owned by social networking giant Facebook, serves as the social database of photos and short video clips from more than 150 million users, whereas Mobli has a smaller, but reasonable, share of more than 12 million users.

When it comes to features, however, Mobli trumps Instagram, and even Vine, as it provided video-sharing way ahead before Instagram and Vine dueled in their own video-sharing arena.

For a span of 18 months, Mobli had access to the API. Why stop it now and not earlier? Instagram is mum on its reasons.

Instgram may well have plenty of reasons that led to its decision. Mobli has celebrity endorsers and more than $84 million in funding, with an estimated valuation of $1 billion – the same amount Facebook paid for Instagram.

Another thing that highly likely set Instagram’s radar signal for Mobli is América Móvil, the world’s fourth-largest wireless provider.

América Móvil, a telecoms company based in Mexico City, is owned by top billionaire Carlos Slim, who recently invested $60 million in Mobli in an agreement that will integrate Mobli to América Móvil handsets.

South America accounts for a high percentage, in double figures, of Mobli’s global user based, and the mobile app provider said it now is rolling out to América Móvil phones.

Mobli responded to Instagram’s decision with this statement:

We respect every platform’s right to do with its platform as it sees fit. We believe in the user’s right to control his content and creation and therefore commit to continuing to enable users to do with their content as they see fit. We are working diligently to create a user experience by which users will stay at Mobli because they want to.

Mobli App for Android
Mobli App for Android (Source: Google Play Store)
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