Predictions on Tumblr

If you haven’t heard that Yahoo is buying Tumblr for $1.1 billion (mostly cash), then you’re probably not paying a lot of attention to tech news.

Here’s my off-the-cuff predictions:

  • Despite Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s promise, yes, Yahoo will screw it up. A company that can’t seem to get a grip on its own direction isn’t going to be able to execute on integrating a new company with such a different personality and sizable user base without effing it up. Most acquisitions don’t do well, and in its entire history, I’ve yet to see Yahoo do well by an acquisition. Mayer has not explained why this will be any different.
  • Yahoo will futz with the Tumblr terms of service soon to disallow a lot of the content (read: adult content) that drives Tumblr.
  • At some point, Yahoo will insist on integrating the account systems between the two companies.
  • Yahoo will start pushing ads into Tumblr, pissing off the Tumblr user base.
  • Yahoo will be a target for copyright vultures going after content being reshared on Tumblr that isn’t being shared legally.

The Tumblr folks will make out like bandits and walk away from Yahoo the moment they’re contractually able to. Yahoo will have overpaid for a property it doesn’t know what to do with, and Yahoo will continue flailing.

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