Flickr co-founder pines for Microhoo

Stewart Butterfield, who left Yahoo earlier this month, says he wishes Microsoft's acquisition of Yahoo had succeeded.

Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield, who has just left Yahoo, has some less-than-adulatory remarks about his former masters.

Speaking to CNET sister publication ZDnet during an Australian visit, Butterfield said he would have preferred it if Microsoft's attempt to acquire Yahoo had gone ahead.

"It was not so great," Butterfield said of the Microsoft acquisition saga. "Once the ball was rolling I would have rather seen the acquisition happen. I think a lot of damage was done to Yahoo. Not only from a company perspective, but from a leadership and (morale) perspective."

Butterfield left Yahoo July 12 , and fellow co-founder Caterina Fake left a few weeks earlier, part of an executive exodus from the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company.

He also criticized Yahoo for being concerned about quarterly results at the expense of longer-term, riskier investments.

"I felt like the biggest problem while I was there (was that) that management was oriented a little bit too much towards the quarterly results...If the entire focus of the company is produce a certain amount of operating free cash flow or a certain amount of capital expenditure...it isn't hard for other people to out-maneuver you, when they're not so concerned about those things," he said. "I am sure the management at Google, despite their outward proclamations, are every bit as concerned about those numbers, but they are taking bigger strategic risks, and other Web start-ups are as well."

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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