Yahoo announced today that it is buying blogging site Tumblr for $1.1bn, mostly in cash. In the posting, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made clear that the cooler, younger company would not be smothered by her firm's notorious corporate culture, under which many other purchases have withered and died.
I'm delighted to announce that we've reached an agreement to acquire Tumblr! We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.
Yahoo! even set out to prove its noble intentions with an amusing animated GIF, adorning its post with a flashing remix of the "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON POSTER", edited to say "NOW PANIC AND FREAK OUT."
Amid the announcement's language of respect and cultivation, however, Reuters' Ant DeRosa spotted a purple sheep already making itself comfortable:
This is the first scary part of the new post—Yahoo Tumblr: Marissa Mayer writes: "Tumblr can deploy Yahoo!'s personalization technology"
But as we all know, Tumblr's users have been clamoring for Yahoo personalization technology. This pressure from within surely played a strong role in shareholders' calculations. Meyer also promised seamless advertising opportunities that enhance the user experience, another well-defined idea that's sure to please the crowd.
Indeed, what DeRosa calls the "scary part" actually bodes well for the heightened efficiency of Yahoo!'s usually-tardy purchase management and integration efforts. In the past, it's often taken several months or even years before any change at all is heralded in one of its many acquisitions.
Here, though, it took mere a mere 24 seconds to read from the introductory paragraph to Yahoo!'s announced intention to make a curiously unappetizing, corporate-sounding revision to the product. Using this as a normalizing metric for future developments, I feel confident that we can offer the following predictive timetable for the ongoing evolution of Tumblr.
8 a.m., Monday, May 20, 2013 — Official announcement.
9:32 a.m. — First implementation of traditionally unappetizing, corporate-brained, systematic revision of the product.
9:40 p.m. — Reports filter in of infant seizures, nightmares, following the first major apperance on national television of Tumblr CEO's eyes.
10 a.m. — First big revision to Tumblr's terms of service. Yahoo reports in a press release that the company had observed "positive uplifting sharp intakes of breath" from users paid to read them.
12 p.m. — Brunch.
1:15 p.m. — It is observed that there has yet to be a second unappetizing, corporate-brained, systematic revision of the product. People start getting nervous.
2:18 p.m. — Yahoo! announces that Tumblr! will be profitable by 3 p.m.
2:50 p.m. — EXIF data stripped from photos; it is Terry Semel's fault.
3:40 p.m. — Tumblr! press releases start to contain the phrase "a good fit" with alarming regularity.
4 p.m. — Just when everyone thought it would never happen, a great mobile app is launched. In the resulting flurry of excitement and social activity, long-dormant accounts are reused for the first time since the morning. Embarassing hours-old avatars are updated.
4:45 p.m. — Tumblr! logo appears in a leaked powerpoint under the heading "Sunset."
4:47 p.m. — Yahoo! denies that Tumblr! is to be sunsetted.
4:55 p.m. — Yahoo! announces that Tumblr! is to be sunsetted.
4:55:07 p.m. — Buzzfeed runs a list titled "40 bizarre Tumblr pages from the web's good old days."
4:56 p.m. — Yahoo! announces that Tumblr! is to be turned off in three minutes.
4:58 p.m. — The Internet Archive completes a massive project to backup Tumblr before it goes away.
5 p.m. — Yahoo! announces its acquisition of Medium.