If I Had a Billion Dollars

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
April 9 2012 1:43 PM

If I Had a Billion Dollars

Two big billion-dollar deals in the technology world today. First, Microsoft announced that it would pay $1 billion for AOL's arsenal of patents. Second, Facebook will spend $1 billion for the photo sharing and filtering service Instagram.

Judging by sarcastic remarks on Twitter, a lot of people seem to think that latter deal is irrationally rich. But consider it in comparison to the former deal. Whatever else you may say about it, Instagram is a legitimately innovative company that's made something a lot of people like to use and do, in fact, use frequently. AOL is ... what? Not much, but they can provide Microsoft with much-needed countermeasures in the giant legal pretzel over who "invented" smartphones and social networking.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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