Yahoo! buys Zimbra for $350 million. It’s a great catch.

18 09 2007

Zimbra LogoIt’s official. Yahoo goes the enterprise route. Why else would it acquire Zimbra?? I think this is a great acquisition of a product which offers one of the best messaging and collaboration suites out there.

This move will definitely bring yahoo into the fight club already populated with the two giants Google and Microsoft. All competing for the best comprehensive web apps/mail/collab solution for small businesses and enterprises. Of course there’s one key difference in this fight… Google offers all its products for free right now. Zimbra doesn’t. In fact it charges $25/user/year for a 25 seat package. Prices fall to $18 for 50 seats or more. There are of course fat discounts for educational institutions and Government agencies but won’t they be using Google’s services anyway?

Zimbra, a California based company currently has an assorted suite of open source messaging software. According to their site, Key customers we work with include service providers, higher education institutions, and Fortune 1000 enterprises, particularly in the financial services, retail, and manufacturing sectors.

Zimbra suite screenshot

Their flagship collaboration suite (ZCS) 4.5 has a lot of AJAX functionality built into it which makes managing contacts and information a fluid experience. Zimbra mobile provides over-the-air “push” synchronization to mobile devices without the need for third party software or additional servers for most devices. One interesting feature is “Zimlets” which essentially allow you to push messages onto a 3rd party services to create creative mashups which save time. For eg. there’s a zimlet which allows you to click a phone number in email messages to directly connect using Skype. Another cool zimlet is the SMS zimlet which allows you to drag and drop a mail message and send it as an SMS to an addres book contact.

It’s going to be interesting to see Yahoo’s next steps with this acquisition and where it plans to take this to. It’s not hard to imagine a company using the Yahoo branded zimbra suite for all its messaging/collab needs, using a secure, branded yahoo messenger for internal chat and also have access to yahoo’s other services like maps, groups and mail. Overall, it’s an excellent catch for Yahoo.

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