A needlessly sardonic view on what's been happening in the technology world over the last few days, and more importantly, who's been screwing up...


Let's kick off in what you all must have heard - that resounding death knell for Tumblr, bursting across the aural landscape of the internet as the poison chalice of technology takeovers, Yahoo!, completed its £1.1 billion acquisition of the micro-blogging social media platform.

But that's like Disney saying they will make Star Wars episode VII with merchandising as the after thought.


The first question you have to ask is how a company as notorious for getting things horrendously wrong can even pull together such a sum of cold hard cash. And the interesting thing is - it's almost all cash. Whereas similar deals may include various share options and other nonsense, Yahoo! has actually gone full retard and stumped up the full fee.

How is this possible? Well - probably because people like me give them a hard deal. Their site actually still pull in 700-odd million unique visits per month and it seems to be only others' services that they screw up. Comparatively, Google only pulls in just over a billion per month (though that's a 2011 figure). But it's hard not to ceaselessly knock the onomatopoeic senile grandpa of internet search as it continues to fail in the laughing face of the all empowering Google. They fucked up with AltaVista, and they fucked up with del.icio.us too. As for Flickr? There's some seriously missed opportunities there - they seemed to barely notice the whole Instagram/photo ownership debacle of 2012. Is Tumblr next?

Soaked in further irony (there's probably some in there somewhere), Yahoo! almost bought Google - in 2003, but Google turned down the £3 billion dollar offering. It's uncertain what figure would have got the Google bigwigs wet with financial excitement, but let's look at it this way - Yahoo! wasn't willing to put its neck out for a business that now pulls in more than three times that figure in just a year, whereas it's more than happy to shell out one swift bill for a single platform like Tumblr which barely has a business model, or a way to make money. Featured posts? Premium themes? EVERYONE'S A BILLIONAIRE.

You know Yahoo bought GeoCities for £3.6 billion right? Dicks.

This is how the internet looked between the years of 1962 and 1971 - the last time that Yahoo! held a majority cabinet under the leadership of Gordon Brown


But who knows, maybe the tide is changing? Tumblr is arguably... well, not arguably, almost certainly worth a hell of alot more than something like Instagram - which Facebook rounded up with a similar £1 billion fee last year ($300 million in cash and 23 million shares of stock).

While Instagram may have 100 million active users, with Tumblr hosting a similar amount of blogs, and this is arguable, Tumblr's audience is more monetise-friendly with the sheer amount of content they produce, and more accessible platform for advertisers. Also, they get 300 million unique users a month - keen mathematicians out there will notice this will take Yahoo!'s network up to 1 billion uniques a month - not far behind Google. The only way Instagram is likely to get comparable bank would be to turn itself into a horrendous food/cats/shorts & sunglass modelling photo library. I imagine the Topless Tuesday collection will rake in a bit, only offset by a few legal haggles when someone realises the majority of the girls are underage.

But who's the real loser here? The user? Of course not. It's Yahoo! - have you not been reading any of this? Yahoo! will need to make sweeping changes to Tumblr's operation, but sweeping changes always upsets everyone that wants to use a service everyday for free.

What's could save Tumblr's decent userbase is that most of them probably don't even remember who Yahoo! was/is, and they will hopefully act only like a harmless grandfather that gives them a £10 boots voucher, Yahoo! will likely only be intrusive in so much as making them sign up with something no one wants - a Yahoo! account. Do you see the similarities here?

Though on closer inspection, Yahoo! will probably still screw things up and instead become the creepy uncle, with the kids' parents entirely uncomfortable when he buys them sweets in exchange for a kiss on the cheek, or five minutes quality lap-sitting time.


But what did Tumblr's founder David Karp have to say about the whole thing? The 26 year-old college dropout sent an internal memo to staff which said: "Before touching on how awesome this is, let me try to allay any concerns: We're not turning purple. Our headquarters isn't moving. Our team isn't changing. Our roadmap isn't changing."

Roadmap? Yes, that's what you call it when you don't have a business plan. Still, he signed off the note with "Fuck yeah, David".

Hi David! "Fuck you, dude" ...Well. Well, I never.


From the other side of the acquisition, Yahoo! chief exec Marissa Meyer did something much more professional and made a statement, but it's so incredibly boring and ‘on-brand' that I'm hesitant to bore you with it. But here's just a little bit so you can see what I mean:

"Our hopes here are that this significantly contributes to our growth story in terms of traffic and users. It is an exceptional company and an exceptional team."

YAWN.

So that's pretty much it - Yahoo! really doesn't want to screw up again, but at the same time, they could probably still afford too - so the fate of Tumblr is still fairly uncertain. If Tumblr survives, Yahoo! won't make any money, if Tumblr sinks? Well, Yahoo! probably still won't make any money - like News Corporation's MySpace failure. It's like no one has ever learnt anything from anyone about website takeovers ever.

But no matter what happens, at least we know that the first sweeping change to be made by Yahoo will be cleaning up Tumblr's appalling internal rhetoric. Does David Karp kiss his mother with that mouth? Only when she drops him off at the office with a packed lunch and a cup of coffee, I imagine. What a wonderful scene, mother Karp driving little David up to the front gates at Tumblr HQ, "now it's egg and tomato sandwiches today, and I've put a little treat in your lunch box too," she says. "A funsize Mars Bar, dear! And of course, I've made your coffee extra strong - just how you like it," she gives little David a knowing wink. David smiles back, happy that even as he grows up to be a very important man, he can still share a joke with his mother.

Because, little does anyone know... that cup of coffee? It's not coffee at all. Oh no, little David's tummy is too sensitive for that much caffeine. It's apple juice... harmless apple juice! Imagine that! But don't tell anyone I've told you this, it's our little secret. If the mean old men on the board at Yahoo! ever got wind of this, they'd never let him live it down.


By Andy Price (Andyy_P)