Some Flickr users wary of a MSFT takeover

Some Flickr users are staging online protests over the prospect of Microsoft taking over Yahoo (Flickr is among a number of Web 2.0 services owned by Yahoo). Snip:

As soon as the news hit the wires that Microsoft is proposing a $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo, Flickr users began posting anti-Microsoft images, satirical "Flickr Live" logos and announcing they will abandon Flickr if it falls into Microsoft hands, fearing such a move would mark the beginning of the end.

“Well then, I’m outta here!” announced one Flickr user who goes by the name Judland. While Microsoft has established its dominance on the desktop, its web properties lag behind those of Yahoo and others.

Link to Wired News article. (image: Flickr user Steve Keys, from the "MICROSOFT: KEEP YOUR EVlL GRUBBY HANDS OFF OF OUR FLICKR" Pool).


  1. So they want to abandon the ship when the captain is Microsoft, but don’t care that *right now* it’s Yahoo?

    Who didn’t leave when you finally had to get the Yahoo ID, should’t complain about any other company taking over.

  2. I’ve come to the conclusion that most companies that reach a certain size are all about as bad as each other. I think we’ve just yet to see Google’s true colors (besides the primary ones on their homepage). (In reference to some of the comments on the Flickr image re: moving over to Picasa). They’re all motivated by money and all seem (based on my uneducated and limited observation) to lust after the same goals and attain them in somewhat-comparable ways.

    At the risk of being off-topic, I bet none of these people would care if it was being bought by Apple instead, who in my personal, jaded opinion, is a worse company, if only because their PR cleverly hides their insidiousness (whereas Microsoft doesn’t seem to bother doing a whole ton of cover up – everybody knows what they’re up to, don’t they? That, to me, makes them just slightly less evil.)

  3. Yeah, I guess the whole “this company is nicer than that one” can get a bit naive. However, it’s hard to deny that some corporations DO have something akin to a personality or spirit.

    Sometimes that can be quite different to the image the marketing department would like.

    I completely agree with Draconum’s comment on Apple…they get away with anything without ever majorly upsetting their starry-eyed evangelists.

    When I used to teach multimedia, there were always one or two devoted Mac users amongst the students who spent a great deal of time informing their peers how using a Mac “is a completely different way of thinking” and similar bizarre claims.

    Anyway…in regards to Flickr…I think Yahoo has done a pretty good job in terms of not doing much at all and let Flickr be Flickr. If Microsoft would go ahead and aquire Yahoo, I hope they’d continue that route – then I couldn’t care less who in the end owns the thing.

    Flickr has a great community sharing a creative passion…as long as that stays intact, I’ll leave my photos where they are…

  4. I will promptly move to another service if MS takes over. Did the same thing with Myspace once evil Fox News Corp took it over. Not only are they evil, they screw up many things they touch in way or another.

    Feature Request from MS, etc.:
    I want more middle fingers.

  5. Microsoft has a history of taking on something good and mangling it. Look at Hotmail. Hotmail was the single greatest webmail system when Microsoft bought it. Now, it’s just people lingering on because they don’t feel like moving. Nothing exciting has happened with Hotmail since GMail took over the lead. If you suggest Hotmail’s recent UI updates, you should compare the Hotmail and GMail UIs objectively.

    The reason Flickr users should be worried is the Bloglines example. Bloglines introduced web-based RSS aggregators to the masses 5+ years ago. Then, bought it and killed all top-end development, and Bloglines users defected en-masse to Google Reader. Flickr will almost certainly stagnate if MS takes over. Then, users will start leaving and new users will join whatever else becomes the leader. Then, MS will ‘merge’ Flickr with their Live Photos service, and Flickr will become another has-been.

    Yes, Flickr users ought to protest. I’m not a MS hater. I’ve worked for MS, and they are a great company to work for. But they are also a bully company to be a customer of.

  6. Good grief, you have to wonder how Microsoft became the standard for most computers the world over wth th cnstnt bbysh whnng frm th ntrnt vry tm th d smthng prctcl wth thr bsnss mdl. h yh, that’s right, they pretty much built the whole setup that everyone uses nowadays, especially on the business end of things (you know, the part of the internet that actually makes money and is generally useful). Last I checked it was generally pretty beneficial to getting things done if you ran an MS-based computer; about all Google’s done for my internet browsing is required me to have to install an AdBlock app to avoid all their damn advertising, and every time I install some small app I have to be wary I don’t install their crapware… I mean google desktop.

  7. As long as they continue to allow people to post images with CC licenses, and enable searching by license, I don’t really care.

  8. I fail to se the big difference in Flickr being owned by Yahoo or Microsoft.

    But then again, I left Flickr the moment they forced me to get a Yahoo Account.

  9. Re: Apple vs. MS comments:

    I recently switched to the Mac, and it was because of their draconian OS licensing schemes. Here’s a company that could basically make home installs free (I’m not saying they SHOULD do that; I’m saying they COULD) and still be the biggest software company on the block, and yet every time I reinstall my legitimate copy of XP Pro, I have to call them and explain why I’ve installed their OS again (I.e. It’s because it only works for about 6 months before it suffers massive registry bloat and slows to a crawl).

    I don’t put up with any of that from Apple.

    I know Cory moved to Linux because he thought Apple was too proprietary, and I certainly see his point, but for me, it’s the much-less-evil-but-still-viable OS option.

    As for the “whole different way of thinking comment,” um, yeah, it is. Whether its better or not is kind of up to you, but I’ve found it to be extremely efficiency-enhancing. YMMV.

  10. I can’t imagine a world without flickr. As long as flickr stays true to it’s roots (and regardless of who owns them), I’ll keep my photos there and enjoy the community and friends it brings.

  11. What’s wrong with microsoft? It’s a company started by a cool, philanthropic guy. Plus he doesn’t like the fact that he’s been imprisonned because people like his product.

    Yahoo are the ones that worked with the Chinese Government to cause a whole load of trouble. Torture, censorship anyone?

  12. Does anyone here have money in a mutual fund? Maybe a pension fund at work? It’s harder to complain about capitalism in action when it means you’re worth more at the end of the day because your fund did well. I think some people would have egg on their face if they knew how they were connected to some of these coporate monsters. I for one love-hate MS. Lots of good people have made lots of money with MS, and that money has been redistributed to millions of people around the world in the form of taxes paid to the feds (that tax money gets used for –some– good work) and charity given by MS and its emps. LOTS of money to lots of needy people.

  13. Whose to say those kids didn’t make their OWN statements? You know how smart some of them whippersnappers are these days….

  14. As seen in the comments to the Judland link

    view profile
    JeroenJeroen Pro User says:

    Very funny you’re using Comic Sans.
    Posted 28 hours ago. ( permalink )

  15. Those kids are too young to know the intricacies of our (including their) relationships with big companies.

  16. @#10 Kyle Armbruster

    Ok, maybe I’m missing something when I use my Mac. I can browse through directories and open files of many kinds in various programs.

    The interface is pretty and has been copied from earlier-on Flash experiments…nothing wrong with that…

    Where’s this “different way of thinking”, I want to know it…is it an easter egg?

    Do Macs delivered in the US come with an acid tab?

  17. I’m sorry… could someone here give me a really good reason why it would be so horrible if MS owned flickr? as long as flickr remains true to its roots and continues to allow people to post images in CC i guess i fail to see the reason MS is so dangerous. Heck, MS prolly gives just as much back to the community as google or apple.

  18. Why will it be bad if MS owns Flickr?

    There are several innovative things Flickr does, which go against Microsoft’s general proprietary philosophy. Among them:

    1. Open, documented, standards-based web API. This allows easy creation of third party apps. There are Flickr tools that run on Linux, and even a Perl API.

    2. Unlimited numbers of uploads for Pro members

    3. Ad-free content for Pro members (Does MS offer *anything* ad-free on the web?)

    4. Creativity with photo licensing

    5. ActiveX/Flash crap not required for viewing

    6. Tools allowing backup of your account content to your PC, preventing lock-in

    Number 6 will probably be the first to go, so start backing up your photos now.

  19. Of course kids have their own opinions. The only question is – how well thought-out are they?

    There are reasons why we have age limits on a lot of things that require somewhat sophisticated judgment (driving, drinking, voting, sex, etc.). Kids’ opinions may be very strong and absolute, but that doesn’t make them any truer.

    And any adult who’s using his kids as a billboard for their own opinions either hasn’t much evolved past a teenager’s maturity level, or is cynically placing *them* in front of the camera because they make better eye-candy.

  20. @#26 eap

    Yes, but MS have also been catching up a bit over the years (note to marketing department: lock Balmer up forever or start selling lager).

    They now do interesting stuff in their “labs” section, especially around image/geotagging and VR related things…of course only since they looked at the other guys.

    But to see MS as the downfall of Flickr is not justified, I think…

  21. #3,4: Thank god. I was beginning to think I was the only person in the world who didn’t drink whatever Apple’s been putting into the Kool-Aid.

  22. I know many “adults” with strong opinions. Totally ignorant,patently false and socially dangerous opinions, but very strong none the less.

    Why is the opinion of these apparent children dismissed out of hand? Perhaps it is time to come up with a less neolithic method to determine majority. For all any of you know,they are both more qualified to hold he opinion expressed than you yours.

    Instead of an arbitrary age,how about a test? Competence with computers, knowledge of current events,not getting caught and spearing a lion?

  23. The Yahoo takeover of Flickr was a non-event, other than screwing up the login for those of us with no use for Yahoo’s other products, and the MS takeover would likely be an equally meaningless non-event.

  24. *rolls eyes*

    Yeah, ’cause Yahoo isn’t an evil corporation. They have gladly handed over bloggers and journalists to the Chinese government for torture and imprisonment. THEN they lied about it during a Congressional inquiry into their practices.

    Okay – Microsoft isn’t the Mother Teresa of companies, but none really are. Even Google with their “Do No Evil” mantra got into bed with the Chinese government to do content blocking on their behalf.

  25. Bill Gates owns Corbis. It has not made any money yet and I think Bill would like it to make money. My thought was that MS may sell Flickr to Corbis after acquiring Yahoo, which lets Corbis cook up a scheme to help Flickr users make money by handling the licensing of their content. Right now you can license your Flickr content however you like. But if Corbis owned Flickr, they would be able to ‘encourage’ people to let Corbis handle their licensing rather than going the free or CC route.

    When I want a certain image, I used to go to Google Image Search. But Flickr searches have yielded much better results for more than a year now. As a huge stock photo repository it has great value.

  26. I saw the microsoft buyout buzz in the blagotubes and the first thing I thought of was my ~6300 some odd photos on flickr.

    As far as I’ve read so far, there isnt any new news.. so I’m not sweating yet.

    But the idea of Microsoft stepping and doing to flickr what they did to bungie? Fuck a bunch of that. If thats the plan, I’m backing up all my photos and either 1) moving to zooomr, or 2) building my own photo sharing app community :3

  27. #7 posted by CrypticJ
    Good grief, you have to wonder how Microsoft became the standard for most computers the world over with the constant babyish whining from the internet every time the do something practical with their business model. Oh yah, that’s right, they pretty much built the whole setup that everyone uses nowadays, especially on the business end of things

    Your ignorance of history is so astounding I don’t even know where to begin. Microsoft is not an innovator, never has been. But there is one thing for certain, unlike Yahoo, MS will munge up Fliker just like they have everything else they touch.

  28. I don’t think Microsoft is evil, I just know from experience that they make incredibly bad products. They make garbage. Sometimes they buy good stuff and make it garbage. How would you feel if they went and bought Adobe? Microsoft Photoshop? There would be a suicide epidemic in the graphic arts community.

  29. @ #39 “How would you feel if they went and bought Adobe? Microsoft Photoshop? There would be a suicide epidemic in the graphic arts community.”

    Oh, boy. It would a ritual suicide, and in front of Microsoft’s headquarters for sure.

  30. Jake, ElGuapo, want to share that with the rest of the class?

    Draconum (3), I completely disagree with your viewpoint. Some companies really are more evil than others of comparable size. Some make a genuine effort to be better than they need to be.

    If there’s no point in trying to be better, why do we complain about the companies that don’t?

    We cannot escape our moral duty to exercise discriminating judgement.

    Z7Q2 (34), I can’t imagine trying to combine Corbis with Flickr. Corbis is all about selling images, period. They don’t even sell the photographers whose work they carry. Last time I looked, they weren’t putting photographers’ names on their pictures any more. This meant that if you liked someone’s work, you couldn’t look them up and see what else they might have for sale, or commission other work from them. All you could do was buy what Corbis was selling.

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