I don’t want to get to emotional about this
But this is how I feel about the Microsoft letter and flickr. I am not even that big a flickr user but I like it – I joined when all my friends in the tech world were signing up and sharing photos and I wanted to to. It was at the time an independent company and was subsequently acquired by Yahoo! Now with this hostile take over situation with MSFT it could be owned by THEM. It is really devastating to think that all the energy I and others put into this space would be owned by THEM. BTW this also applies to Delicious – I don’t use it that much but I like it.
The thing I wonder about is – could the fans of flickr (and delicious) raise enough money to buy them from Yahoo! to prevent them being owned by MSFT. I bet you there would be enough community support (read money) that would come forward to prevent the sale. I really could care less about Yahoo!’s home page or its search or even its mail services – MSFT can have them for all I care. I do care about the products and services I use and have an emotional resonance with me cause I LIKE THEM. How can community space be owned by communities – could flickr become the first consumer cooperative on the web? I know I am dreaming big and this is not likely but I just had to put it out there.
Update: I am making a strong distinction between the acquisition of Yahoo! the internet portal/services company and the identity efforts that MSFT is an active participant.
So let me be totally clear I completely respect all the people that I have met at MSFT working on user-centric digital identity.
Every promise Kim Cameron has made to the community about openness and disclosure has happened. There has been real collaboration between the OpenID community and MSFT culminating with their joining the board. At RSA last week MSFT was a very active participant and supporter of the OSIS interop. Mike Jones is doing amazing work to weave all the efforts together so a real identity meta-system with plurality can emerge.
All the MSFT participants have been more then good community actors since the identity gang began over three years ago now.
I distinguish between their work in the field of identity AND the potential aquision/takeover of the same company one of the major internet portals – that I happen to have a strong personal relationship with. Last time I checked it wasn’t the “great” identity guys that would be in charge of the new Yahoo! acquisition – I am happy to be proven wrong though.
I don’t feel it is right to ask me to be silent about my discomfort regarding this impending acquisition.