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Yahoo! Swears It Isn't Going to Screw Up Tumblr—but How Realistic Is That Promise?

David Karp, co-founder of Tumblr, speaking in New York last year
David Karp, co-founder of Tumblr, speaking in New York last yearPhotograph by Jennifer S. Altman/Bloomberg

As the dust begins to settle from one of the most significant acquisitions in Web-land since the Facebook/Instagram deal, the warm glow of euphoria created by Yahoo!’s $1.1-billion takeover of Tumblr has given way to the harsh reality of blending—or, more important, not blending—two vastly different companies and cultures. In a statement about the deal, Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer promised not to “screw it up,” a comment undoubtedly aimed at the sensitive community of Tumblr fanatics.

Is it even possible for Yahoo to keep this promise?