You have to love an article with quotes such as “the newts were fine” and “flying pet store of death”.
I’m skeptical that Yahoo will actually buy Tumblr, but it’s fun to consider the possibility. On the face of it, Tumblr would be a good fit for Yahoo, whose strengths are largely held in building - or at least maintaining - homes for content, like Flickr.
Not many Yahoo acquisitions have had good luck after the deal was made. The last two Tumblr-sized services Yahoo grabbed were Flickr and del.icio.us. Flickr isn’t doing bad right now, but it’s had a rough ride. Del.icio.us was sold off a couple years ago.
However, at the end of the day, they were still Flickr and del.icio.us. Most Google acquisitions don’t last very long before the personality is ripped from them, replaced with the gray uniform all Google apps share. Facebook operates similarly, and Twitter rewrites everything they touch. Microsoft’s consumer-facing applications get bought, rebranded, then thrown away and replaced with something new using the latest design flavor every five years. So given the choices between the above, Yahoo is the only real choice if Tumblr’s founders don’t want to see the service gutted or disposed of.
The wild card here is Yahoo’s new ex-Google CEO, Marissa Mayer. She’s making some fairly radical changes, and if they make Yahoo stronger and smarter it can only benefit Tumblr. Or, the board could freak out, get rid of her Ron Johnson style, and then proceed to “undo the damage” - putting everything that took place under her tenure in jeopardy, particularly acquisitions. To see an example, take a look at how HP killed off Palm a few years ago when their CEO slipped a gear.
One more thought: given any of the five companies mentioned above, I’m most comfortable with Yahoo and Microsoft. Neither have the dismissive attitude toward my privacy like Facebook and Google, nor are they as control-freaky as Twitter. I’d like to see Tumblr go on their own and go public one day, though.