VMware to buy Zimbra off Yahoo!

13 Jan 2010

Virtualisation software giant VMware has revealed that it plans to acquire email and collaboration software vendor Zimbra from web portal player Yahoo!

While the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, the acquisition will further VMware’s mission of taking complexity out of the data centre, desktop, application development and core IT services, and delivering a fundamentally more efficient and new cloud-based approach to IT.

What is Zimbra?

Zimbra is a leading open-source email and collaboration solution with more than 55 million mailboxes. As an independent Yahoo! product division, Zimbra achieved 2009 mailbox growth of 86pc overall and 165pc among small and medium business customers.

Based on a modern, flexible architecture designed for virtualisation and cloud-scale infrastructure, the Zimbra technology provides substantially lower total cost of ownership than traditional solutions.

“Over the coming years, we expect more organisations, especially small and medium size businesses, to increasingly buy core IT solutions that deliver cloud-like simplicity in end-user and operational experience,” said Brian Byun, vice-president and general manager, Cloud Services, VMware.

“Zimbra is a great example of the type of scalable ‘cloud era’ solutions that can span smaller, on-premise implementations to the cloud. It will be a building block in an expanding portfolio of solutions that can be offered as a virtual appliance or by a cloud service provider,” Byun said.

VMware’s plans

VMware plans to support existing Zimbra products and open-source efforts while further optimising Zimbra products for vSphere-based cloud infrastructure, alongside Microsoft, IBM and other messaging and collaboration solutions.

Under the terms of the agreement, VMware will purchase all Zimbra technology and intellectual property.

Yahoo! will have the right to continue to utilise the Zimbra technology in its communications services, including Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Calendar.

“The Zimbra technology has played and will continue to play an important role in our communications services products. The technology is core to Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Calendar and a key differentiator for these leading products,” said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice-president, Yahoo!

“The customers and partners of Zimbra’s industry-leading product and successful enterprise business will be well served with VMware,” Lamkin said.

The acquisition is expected to close in Q1.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years