Microsoft Wants to Build a Flickr Competitor

Rumor has it that Microsoft wants to build a Flickr competitor, in effect trying to round out a suite of web solutions to mimic its desktop operating system offerings. Ignoring Microsoft’s track record of not being able to build a decent web solution for anything, how could this possibly work for them on a scale where it’s a worthwhile investment?

The current customers for this kind of web solution are already firmly entrenched in Flickr (or Facebook, which hosts more photos than any other website.) They have photosets, meta data, comments, favorites, contacts. Does Microsoft honestly think anyone that invested in Flickr will jump ship? So in order to be successful, they have to market this to completely new customers. Microsoft users are already downgrading from Vista to ye olde XP, and now the company is going to start an uphill battle in an area where they’ve never had success, in a market already flush with established, innovative companies. That sounds like a brilliant waste of time, manpower, money, and energy.

Of course, since it’s Microsoft, they’ll lean on the same strategies they always do: marketing muscle and feature bloat. But features are not going to make me leave Flickr. I don’t post to Flickr because of features anyway; it’s about community, and doing a handful of things very well. Microsoft’s feature-heavy solutions try to do everything, but they do it poorly and make it more difficult to actually get anything done.

Here’s a better business plan: why not just spend the money allotted to this project to FREAKING FIX INTERNET EXPLORER for web developers by making it standards compliant?