VMware: Using Alfresco to Attack Microsoft SharePoint?
Sources say VMware is mulling a partnership, investment or outright acquisition of Alfresco — the open source enterprise content management system. The potential reason: Alfresco would potentially allow VMware to attack Microsoft SharePoint, which generates more than $1 billion in annual revenues for Microsoft and its channel partners. Here’s the apparent chatter involving VMware and Alfresco, and the potential implications for solutions providers.
First, let’s rewind a bit. VMware in early 2010 acquired Zimbra, the open source email platform, and is now attacking the Microsoft Exchange market. Effective Aug. 1, 2010, sources say VMware’s channel partners are empowered to promote Zimbra.
Meanwhile, a source close to VMware says the company continues to evaluate potential application-level acquisitions. One potential target, according to the source, is Alfresco — which positions itself as an open source alternative to Microsoft SharePoint. A source familiar with Alfresco’s business says sales and customer wins have been growing consistently, and there has been chatter about a closer working relationship with VMware.
Not by coincidence, open source community members have been creating integrations between Alfresco and Zimbra. As a result, the Alfresco-Zimbra combination could give VMware a one-two punch against Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange, The VAR Guy believes.
Also of note: While Microsoft both cooperates and competes with VARs that want to host Exchange and SharePoint, VMware defers Zimbra hosting opportunities to channel partners and SaaS specialists.
Would VMware treat Alfresco partners similarly? Alas, it’s too early to accurately predict whether a VMware-Alfresco partnership (or more…) will emerge. A spokesperson for VMware says the company does not comment on rumor or speculation. Alfresco did not reply to a request for comment.