Would Yahoo! Have Bought Flickr if the Code was Open Source?

by Steve Mallett

A friend of mine posed a question for which I don't have an answer: Would Yahoo! have bought Flickr if the code that ran Flickr had been open source?

I've gone back and forth on this & frankly I don't know. Usually a webservice has a huge barrier to entry based on the costs of bandwidth and hardware. This would keep little guys out. But, Yahoo! has competitors who have money, servers, and bandwidth that would make any start-up drool.

My friend ends his question with... "Well, Google (or other competitor) could just drop the code in, drop the price slightly, and go. What advantage does that give Yahoo! in this case?"

Sure, it's tough being second, but it's not like Google doesn't have the means to wow people over. Heck, they could probably code it up in a week anyhow!

What say you? Would that have killed a deal?


2005-06-24 14:45:14
It's the data
Yes, they would have. The code isn't the asset; the community and data are. Even if Google takes the open source code and builds Flickoogle, they won't have the members, links, photos, or metadata.
2005-06-25 06:33:43
It's the data
Indeed. This is exactly what Tim O’Reilly is talking about when he refers to his “architecture of participation” model.
2005-06-30 04:44:05
technically innovative?
I can see wanting to get the code as a priority if the product is technically innovative in some way. Flickr isn't particularly innovative technically. Thus I would have to say it wouldn't matter.
2005-07-07 07:32:15
Very likely an idea that sounds better on paper.
It seems to be a meme in the US that machine translation is actually translation. In the rest of the world people mostly just scoff. While it works bearably (or even surpringsly) well within narrow confines placed on a sentence or two in a row, it's only useful to let you ballpark the subject of any substantial amount text and rapidly degrades as grammatical structures becomes complex or incomplete. It certainly beats trying to communicate with someone without the aid of any translation at all, but I'm sure these operators will have some very frustrated (and some rather hilarious) stories to tell.

In a brilliant piece by Tim O'Reilly, the paranoia regarding Google's GMail is discussed shortly and dismissed, point by point.
thank you!
Tim then goes on and focuses on the real issues regarding Google’s take on information and information management. O'Reilly...