The family-run SmugMug has bought Flickr as Verizon starts to sell off unwanted parts of its Yahoo! acquisition.
(CCM) — SmugMug, an independent image-hosting service, has bought Flickr, one of the internet's best known photo-sharing sites. The move comes as U.S. carrier Verizon breaks up Yahoo!, the internet company which it acquired last summer for about $4.5 billion.
Don MacAskill, SmugMug's chief executive, has announced that Flickr will "continue to operate separately, just as it has been," and no changes will be made to Flickr's current plans or rates. "Flickr’s free accounts are foundational to its community of influential and engaged photographers," he said.
MacAskill's announcement will come as a relief to many Flickr users, because its future had been in doubt following Yahoo!'s acquisition by Verizon.
Flickr was hugely popular with photographers when it was launched in 2004, before being acquired by Yahoo! one year later. It now hosts billions of images and has 75 million users, but under Yahoo!'s ownership it suffered neglect and under-investment, resulting in it falling far behind services like the Facebook-owned Instagram in popularity.
Yahoo! tried to breathe new life into the service on 2012 with the introduction of 1TB of free storage and a beefed-up user interface, but this proved insufficient to allow Flickr to compete more equally with Instagram.
Yahoo!'s Moviefone and Polyvore e-commerce businesses have already been sold off by Verizon as the company is broken up.
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