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Are Start-Ups Afraid of Yahoo?

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If you’ve been watching Yahoo’s acquisition activity over the past two years, one thing has become pretty obvious: once a deal is completed, Yahoo has a strange way of not capitalizing on its new toys.

Instead, its acquisition seem to enthusiastically embrace the status quo with little of the innovation/coolness that made them such compelling acquisition targets.

- Has there been anything really innovative at Flickr since Yahoo bought it in 2005. The recently-launched Places feature, which creates a page for each location around the world, is pretty cool but it’s nothing earth-shattering

- While there’s apparently some big stuff happening behind the scenes at del.icio.us, the bookmarking service hasn’t changed much, if at all, since Yahoo bought it two years ago.

- And what ever happened to MyBlogLog? It’s pretty much disappeared somewhere within the Yahoo empire.

If you’re a start-up entrepreneur, maybe you’ve got some hesitation about jumping into bed with Yahoo given whatever you’ve created will lose its mojo after it has been acquired. Of course, money talks but maybe Yahoo isn’t seen as the most attractive suitor for an entrepreneur who has toiled away to make something useful and cool.

Maybe this is why Picnik, a photo-editing service, decided to partner with Flickr rather than be acquired. After all, Yahoo could have easily opened the vault to buy Picnik, which has started to attract some attention for its easy-to-use service.

Maybe Picnik believes a partners with Flickr could give it a solid financial boost by attracting more users, who would migrate to its premium service. Then, it would have more financial clout with potential suitors.

For more, check out the PlanetEye blog and Mathew Ingram, who’s tired a bunch of photo-editing services/software.

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