What Happens When Microsoft Becomes Your Daddy?

Microsoft’s 44.6 billion dollar bid to buy Yahoo is obviously big news today.

It’s a reminder of how quickly things can change when the core business in based on bytes, not bricks.

In the case of Flickr, it creates a very interesting situation – we’ll see how it plays out. The issue here isn’t money or size, it’s credibility and image.

Flickr is a photo sharing site, and a darling of the Web 2.0 crowd. There are other, more popular photo sharing sites, but among other things, Flickr provides an open API . And that means people have found lots of creative ways to plug into the Flickr functionality in ways that suits them best. Flickr’s approach has always been making it easy for users to share their photos, and to plug into that sharing framework in any way they want.

Personally, I love Flickr. It’s very good at what it does, it’s free, it was originally built in Vancouver, and it has kept true to its community roots.

A few years ago, Flickr was purchased by Yahoo . If the Microsoft deal goes through, Flickr will be a Microsoft property.

And if there’s one thing about those web 2.0 people – they almost all detest Microsoft,. You could write volumes about why they do.

So what happens now ? Will Flickr fans shun it ? They certainly didn’t when it was purchased by Yahoo – a company that also has its detractors.

Ultimately, the community (one that has uploaded 2 billion photos to Flickr) is in the driver’s seat.

Flickr and other community sites aren’t ‘the town square’.

They’re the people in the square – and they’re free to go where they please.


Update: Wired.com has an article on rumblings in the Flickr community about the possibility of the MS acquisition.  Laughing Squid also covers.


(cross posted to Robert’s At Large Media blog)

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