Ever since Microsoft began its attempt to takeover Yahoo I started thinking about the future of Flickr. That’s really the only Yahoo service I use (and I pay for). Microsoft does not have a good history with web services. Yeah, at the beginning of the web everyone had a Hotmail account, but they quickly fell behind in the times with that. They couldn’t keep up with the features and storage of other competitors, like Yahoo and Google. It seems that every attempt they’ve made has failed. Does anyone actually use Microsoft’s Spaces? Can anyone actually find anything via their Live Search? Personally, I think Microsoft’s Live search has to be the worst search engine out there.
I know thinking that Microsoft going in and breaking a winning formula (winning in the user’s views, not necessarily in the business sense) probably isn’t going to happen, but it is Microsoft. I don’t have much faith in them. No, they won’t rewrite Flickr to use ASP.NET or something crazy like that, but I do worry about what they can do to mess up Flickr. I also think that a lot of the passionate Flickr users, especially the ones that were there pre-Yahoo, will definitely not like the change of hands and move to a new photo service. I really wish Google would spend some time developing their Picasa and Picasa Web services, up the storage allotment, and make it a real competitor in the online photo storage market. It has great potential, and with Microsoft trying to take over Yahoo, now would be the perfect time for them to woo users. Of course, I may just be paranoid about what will happen to Flickr, but it’s a service I pay for and a place where I store my photos, so I do wonder about the future. Do I really want to feed my money and data to Microsoft? Not likely. If Microsoft buys Yahoo, will you stay with Flickr? Will you move somewhere else? If so, where?