Apple senior vice president for marketing Phil Schiller. He's no longer an Instagram fan, apparently.

Story highlights

Five million users signed up in the first five days of Instagram launching on Android

Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller didn't like the app going to Android, deleted his account

Schiller: I really liked that the app was a small community of early adopters

Mashable  — 

The $1 billion photo-sharing app Instagram – once named “app of the year” by Apple – has now “jumped the shark,” according to Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller.

And not only is Schiller trashing the service (in a brief message to Apple enthusiast Clayton Braasch), he has also deleted his Instagram account (@schiller) entirely (much like some thousands of other users.)

What got Schiller so upset? Not the billion-dollar acquisition by Facebook, apparently. “It ‘jumped the shark’ when it went to Android,” was all the Apple executive wrote to Braasch Thursday.

Instagram launched its Android version earlier this month. In the first five days, the Android app saw five million users sign up. That’s not huge compared to the 30 million iPhone users, but the rate of growth was stunning – and strongly contributed to Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to offer Kevin Systrom $1 billion for the app.

What exactly Schiller meant is unclear. How can five million new users on a slightly different platform make an app “jump the shark”? Many iPhone Instagram users have seen their follower counts swell, but it’s hard to see what’s wrong with that.

You wouldn’t be hard pressed to see further evidence that the “nuclear war” Steve Jobs vowed to wage against Android is being continued by his successors at Apple.

If a favored iOS app launching on Android is enough to earn a rebuke from a top Apple executive, that may serve as a warning to other app makers who are currently on iOS alone.

Remember, Apple is a company where practically every executive comment is a calculated one. (Naturally, we’ve reached out to Apple for comment and will let you know if we hear back.)

But it’s got to be galling for Instagram. Just four months ago, Schiller was congratulating them on his Twitter feed, where he also plugged his own Instagram account:

@pschiller: Congrats to @foofighters @instagram and all the iTunes Rewind 2011 winners! (btw: @schiller on Instagram ;->)

Follow that account link now, and all you’ll see is an Instagram error page.

You could well argue that with Zuckerberg’s backing and $1 billion in the bank, Systrom et al have no more need for Apple’s patronage. But the majority of Instagram’s users are still on the iPhone, and the iPhone’s handlers apparently just turned hostile.

Update: Braasch reached out to Schiller for clarification, and got the following via email:

Instagram is a great app and community. That hasn’t changed. But one of the things I really liked about Instagram was that it was a small community of early adopters sharing their photographs.

Now that it has grow [sic] much larger the signal to noise ratio is different. That isn’t necessarily good or bad, it’s just not what I originally had fun with.

What do you make of Schiller’s comments? Can Instagram patch things up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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