Home Flickr CEO talks about Google threat

Flickr CEO talks about Google threat

Richard Koman over at SiliconValleyWatcher gets
the scoop
from Flickr CEO Stewart Butterfield, on whether Google will
replicate Flickr’s photo-sharing service (as suggested by Om Malik). Stewart is quoted
as saying:

“Given our growth, the technologies cooking in the lab, and that we’re still
completing the feature set and infrastructure build out for version 1.0, I’m not worried
about the future.

I don’t think Google can or would want to simply replicate anything. They are pretty
obsessive about the details — Gmail took two years in development — and they like to do
things their own way. As their evolution from search engine to ad network + portal
continues I think they become easier to compete with in areas outside their core.”

And Richard Koman adds:

“It’s worth noting that Om received a flood of Flickr love in response to his post,
which tells you something about the value of building brand from the ground up.”

Lately there’s been a
of speculation about whether the smaller Web 2.0 companies (e.g. Flickr,
Bloglines, Feedburner, SixApart) will be able to foot it with the BigCo’s (e.g. Google,
Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon). Many people think the smaller companies will be acquired by
the big co’s – and this is actually a viable strategy for a
smaller company – or be squashed by them. So it’s refreshing to see one of the smaller
company honchos come out and say: hey, we’re not afraid of competing with Google.

One can’t read too much into Stewart’s response – it sounds pretty guarded and
open-ended as to their future plans. Once they complete version 1.0, they may then be
prepared to sell it to the likes of Google or Yahoo or Microsoft – who’s to say? But I
like that Stewart emphasizes that Flickr is best in its class in its niche, whereas Google is spreading itself over a number of niches these days. Good fighting talk

Flickr has built up a lot of whuffie, so that bottom-up market
evolution may well be their saving grace when or if Google enters the photo-sharing
market. And no I don’t count Google’s Picasa2 as being in the same ballgame as

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