So Microsoft puts in an offer for Yahoo hoping to morph into a megazord and crush the mighty Google, hilariously portrayed as a terrible leviathan. Words like ‘juggernaut’, ‘dominance’ and ‘weight’ abound. Because, you know, if they could just get bigger then they could kind of sit on Google until it submits. Rather like the slow kid in the playground whom nobody troubles because they happen to loom over most of the teachers.
True, size has its benefits. Economies of scale and all that are advantages that are readily appreciated whilst sitting in a Wetherspoons. Having said that, there was a time when Google was just a tiddler unsuccessfully pitching their minimalistic search box to Yahoo. It got big because it was that much better at doing what people needed.
Likewise Flickr, spawned from some online game company out in Vancouver, was able to turn photo sharing from pain-in-the-arse to fun and reaped huge rewards. Del.icio.us started out as a hobby project from a financial systems developer scratching his own itch before becoming the bookmarking habit for millions. Both were bought by Yahoo! who seemed not to be able to crack these innovations by itself.
The thought of Flickr and del.icio.us (can we just call it Delicious from now on?) may now fall under the banner of Microsoft is somewhat depressing. Can they be trusted not to screw it up? Some think not. Flickr still suffers from the obligation to use Yahoo Maps rather than the superior ones from Google. It’s irrational but the day I am asked to sign in to Flickr with an MSN account is the day I start bulk uploading to Picasaweb.