Instagram announced their ‘Stories’ feature a little over a year ago. The add-on was in direct competition with Snapchat’s main feature: allowing users to post fleeting pictures and videos that expire in 24 hours. Engagement of Instagram Stories has increased exponentially as more users take advantage of the ever-increasing feature-set of face filters, location tags, stickers, drawing tools; some creatives have even leveraged their Stories as ephemeral advertisements.
Tensions have risen between the two applications as Instagram continues to imitate Snapchat, except execute better, and Microsoft is trying to slice out their own corner of this media market with their Skype consumer app. You read that right. The team at Redmond just has crafted a deal with Swing Technologies, a startup that makers of the “living photo” app SWNG.
Launched in 2016, under the guise of Polaroid Swing, SWNG had the mission to ‘reimagine’ the photograph. The SWNG app allows users to create interactive one-second clips or ‘living photos’, similar to the Live Photos feature on iPhones since the 6s. Polaroid Swing tried to revive the once prestigious photographic icon by using its likeness and name prominently in the app. However, with the Polaroid IP acquired by the largest shareholder of the Impossible Project in May of this year, anything that licensed the Polaroid name had to be rebranded, including SWNG.
“Swing Technologies has developed a range of imaging technology across software and hardware, with senior employees recruited from Apple, Instagram and beyond. Swing is backed by top-tier investors and individuals including Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone.“
“This is a unique opportunity for the team to bring our ideas to a global audience,” said Tommy Stadlen, Co-Founder of Swing Technologies. “It’s an exciting time to join Microsoft, which is thriving under the leadership of Satya Nadella. We believe in the power of brands and technology, so the Skype mission and values resonate strongly with us.” – Swing Technologies via their press release.
Microsoft didn’t buy the company outright, instead acquiring all but the name, including Swing employees and the tech behind them. The team at Swing will join the Skype development group to contribute “imaging technology and customer experiences” in Skype messaging and calling – maybe in hopes of implementing a ‘boomerang’-like effect to the platform.
“The Swing team’s deep expertise in imaging technology will help us deliver great new features and capabilities for Skype,” said Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Skype, Amritansh Raghav. “They have an impressive track record of delivering great user experiences and brand design around the technology they develop. I welcome the new team members and am excited about how Swing will deliver innovation to our customers.”
The terms of the deal have not been divulged to the public. To read the full press release check out SWNG, here.