Yahoo is in turmoil. Its CEO and Board are pursuing different paths to either return it to solvency or a shell corporation. Much of whatâ€™s being discussed is what the company should do with core assets, two of which are Flickr and Tumblr.
CEO Marissa Meyer says she wants three years toÂ try to save Yahoo, but prevailing wisdom suggests it will soon become little more than a holding corporation.
If thatâ€™s the case, Yahoo will need to start selling itself off piecemeal. While there are a ton of smaller entities that fall under the Yahoo umbrella, hereâ€™s where its two most notable should probably end up.
Aimed at millennials, Tumblr is a blogging platform that is more about imagery than static text. Itâ€™s also made some notable improvements of late, including Live Photos support and a GIF maker.
And thatâ€™s why itâ€™s perfect for Twitter.
Recently, Jack Dorsey hinted the companyâ€™s 140-character tweet limit would expand to 10,000 characters, but stopped short of saying how. His tweet had an image that was a screengrab of text, but we donâ€™t know where that was written.
Building extensibility into Twitter for Tumblr wouldnâ€™t be impossible, either. Itâ€™s very plausible that a 140-character tweet preview could lead to an expanded Tumblr post, which would even take us beyond 10,000 characters.
Buying Tumblr would also encourage more users into the Twittersphere. In a way, it would be Twitterâ€™s answer to Medium, and help those that donâ€™t quite â€˜getâ€™ Twitter find use cases currently unavailable.
It could also serve Twitterâ€™s other properties well. Embedded Vines would probably do well on Tumblr, as would Periscope feeds. Tumblr would also be complimentary for Twitter Moments, especially when it comes to pop culture, and is low-hanging fruit for advertisements.
With a feature set directed towards professional photographers, Flickr is a popular Web destination for hosted imagery. If sold, there are plenty of companies who would love to snap it up.
The best fit is probably Google, but I could also argue Facebook would benefit from Flickr.
On one hand, Flickr has a very nice search feature, and Google has been toying with surfacing Flickr images in Search for quite some time. Google also likes to filter everything through its search engine. From a discovery standpoint, Google is the best option.
But Googleâ€™s own photo storage and search option, Google Photos, is already pretty great. It doesnâ€™t need help from Flickr image search, and has an impressive set of editing tools already in place. Flickr just adds to the mix, but it doesnâ€™t add anything meaningful for Google.
Facebook would benefit from Flickr, though. The on-boarding process for imagery on Facebook is very dated: you take a picture, then upload it, and thatâ€™s about it.
With Flickrâ€™s toolset, Facebook users would have a bit more control over creating great images within Facebook. Instead of just snapping pics and uploading, users could be able to edit and use filters seamlessly.
I say â€˜couldâ€™ because it would take work. Facebook prefers to have in-house solutions rather than extensible products. It already has Instagram at its disposal, but has yet to bring any of its featuresÂ into the Facebook fold. So Flickrâ€™s features would probably need to be workedÂ into Facebookâ€™s existing platform, but if they were, it would absolutely make Facebook much better.
Yahoo is still in the mix
The wrench in all of this is that both platforms can make money, so itâ€™s very possible Yahoo just hangs onto them.
Though Flickr and Tumblr would flourish elsewhere, dedicated users really donâ€™t care who owns them, so long as the stewardship remains intact.
But, Yahoo just made Flickrâ€™s upload feature a paid one, which isnâ€™t making its users happy. A happy side effect of either Google or Facebook buying it would be that most (if not all) of its features would likely be free.
We obviously donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going on at Yahoo, but something has to give. If the board gets its way â€” and boards typically do â€” Yahoo will likely sell off assets and do little more than sit on Alibaba stock.
And if Flickr and Tumblr go to the right buyers, thatâ€™s going to be a great thing for you and I.