Zimbra-VMware Combo: Five Things to Consider
Yahoo will announce the sale of Zimbra to VMware on January 12, according to All Things D. Why should solutions providers and VARs care? Here are five key points to consider.
1. Channel-friendly SaaS: For the most part, Zimbra has been promoting SaaS-based email and collaboration software through channel partners. In fact, Zimbra — which landed on last year’s Open Source 50 list — has largely deferred the SaaS market to its partners. In the following FastChat video, Zimbra VP Andy Pflaum outlined the strategy to The VAR Guy back in September 2009:
2. Red Hat Relationship: Zimbra was very active at the Red Hat Summit 2009. It’s safe to say Zimbra has a close partner relationship with Red Hat. But things are going to get interesting if/when VMware announces the Zimbra buyout. The reason: Red Hat and VMware are on a collision course in the virtualization market.
3. VMware Partner Exchange: The big event, designed for solutions providers, is scheduled for February 8-11 in Las Vegas. The VAR Guy has heard chatter that roughly 2,000 (or more…) solutions providers will likely attend.
Can VMware complete the Zimbra acquisition in time to talk up Zimbra at the conference? Hmmm… too soon to say. But Zimbra could likely attend as a strategic partner — the same way Sun Microsystems held a high-profile position at Oracle OpenWorld.
4. Beyond Exchange Server: Sure, VMware can likely position Zimbra against Microsoft Exchange Server. But The VAR Guy doubts this will be an on-premise battle. Rather, our resident blogger expects VMware/Zimbra to target Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite, the software giant’s SaaS application portfolio.
5. Google Apps: Another key showdown will involve VMware-Zimbra against Google Apps in the higher education market, where many universities and colleges are trying to decide between Google and Zimbra.
Rewind a year, and Zimbra nearly wound up in Microsoft’s hands as part of the proposed Microsoft buyout of Yahoo (which never came to fruition).
Of course, the list above is pointless if VMware doesn’t buy Zimbra. But all signs point to a deal — perhaps as soon as Jan. 12, according to All Things D.