I’ve watched the story unfold about Microsoft and Yahoo, but from a removed perspective because it has little to do with the storage industry and when it comes to most things Web-based and search or email related, I’m a Google user. Still, it’s been a good story to sit back with some popcorn and watch develop.
Recently, though, it’s hit home a little more for me. First, I saw that the New York Times/AP reported that the co-founders of Flickr, a photo sharing service bought by Yahoo in 2005, have left the company. Then I found out that the founder of Del.icio.us is also leaving Yahoo–which was the first time I even realized Del.icio.us was a Yahoo property.
Now I wonder two things–1) How many other staples of my Web 2.o life are part of Yahoo and I didn’t know it? (One helpful resource for this question: TechCrunch has posted a big table to keep track of the Yahoo exodus). 2) What’s going to happen to them?
It’s as close as I’ll ever come to the experience my enterprise storage audience must have regularly when dealing with the effects of mergers and acquisitions. Anxiety frequently accompanies these events, causing people to wonder how the user experience will change with the product, how support might change, how well might the company keep up with features…
It’s not like products can’t survive without their original innovators, and for the moment, Yahoo does still exist as we know it (though there’s speculation that’s not for long). But I have seen in the storage industry how innovation diminishes after the guys who first built the machine in the garage leave the company, innovation diminishes, and the company itself is more likely to move on to the next shiny object.
That’s what I’m afraid will happen now to Flickr and Del.icio.us, and then I’d have to face another nightmare commong among enterprise folks–how to get my 8,000-plus photos and 2,000-plus bookmarks migrated over to another service.