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Yahoo! Businesses Software The Internet

Yahoo Acquires Zimbra for $350 Million 95

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the constant-maneuverings dept.
TechCrunch is reporting that Yahoo has acquired the open source office suite Zimbra for $350 Million in cash. Zimbra has been in and out of the news over the last couple of years for their office suite, and recently launched offline capabilities. "The company has raised $30.5 million over three rounds of funding from Benchmark Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Accel Capital, Sumitomo and Duff, Ackerman & Goodrich. They announced 6 million paid mailboxes back in March, and more recently inked a deal with Comcast that brings another 12 million potential subscribers."
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Yahoo Acquires Zimbra for $350 Million

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  • by ZephyrXero (750822)
    Perhaps I've missed something but isn't Yahoo usually not too fond of open source stuff? Perhaps they're changing their ways? Or maybe they just want to make Zimbra proprietary to kill any open souce competition? I guess time will only tell on this one...
    • We better fork the entire Zimbra code before it's too late. I liked their idea, used it a few times via their demo website, but was never successful at getting their server installed on Ubuntu. Open source was as good [or bad]as closed source software in this case.

      I agree with you though, that Yahoo is not very friendly with Open Source. Look at their Launchcast music service...it's not friendly to Firefox even to-date!

      Unfortunately, I cannot make a difference since I am no developer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ximenes (10)
      Actually Yahoo is very open-source centric internally, its just that they aren't very good about giving things back. Which isn't to say that they never do (they've supported FreeBSD), but there is a sea of internal tools and modifications that no one ever bothers to release.
      • That's why Google gets Geekshare and Yahoo doesn't. Google wants their people involved 20% of their time in non-work projects. Getting involved in those little tools is a great way for Google's engineers to show community involvement. Yahoo seems more "normal" in their business sense.. in other words keep everybody busy doing "real work" but they miss looking out for the future and that is what's grabbing Google all the happiness lately.
      • by davidsyes (765062)
        So, does this mean Yahoo! devs and other employees are under some sort of NDA? One that says' "It's your DUTY as an employee to help up keep this under wraps!"?

        Sound like a now-defunct company I once worked for that insisted it's use of Open Source code rewrapped to proprietary was proprietary. I went a few rounds with the company attorney and TOLD him that the Open Source work created by others, by teachers and developers who put THEIR sweat and souls into making and releasing their own material to various
        • by ximenes (10)

          So, does this mean Yahoo! devs and other employees are under some sort of NDA? One that says' "It's your DUTY as an employee to help up keep this under wraps!"?

          Yes, in that inevitably some of this software will have secrets that aren't supposed to be shared outside the company. As you develop more and more of an internal software zoo, it becomes increasing less possible (and likely) that you will release any of it into the wild, since pieces will start to depend on wholly internally developed software.

          Besides this, it takes work at any company to release changes or new software as open source. Manager approval, legal signoff, your own time, time and effort to get

          • by davidsyes (765062)
            Is this case different because Yahoo! is making the software available for USE rather than SELLING it for use? (I use "selling" loosely, since advertising dollars, ads and other stuff on their site attracting users could be used to offset the cost of making the O/S software available....)

            Do I understand that as long as Yahoo! does not sell their Open Source based widgets (especially not selling and not attributing) in the software, they are OK? Well, my former employer was actually SELLING the software whic
            • by Rakishi (759894)
              Depending on the license of the software you use there are different requirements. The GPL2 for example only says that you need to, essentially, include source code when you distribute the software. The BSD only says that you need to include credit including the BSD license somewhere but not the source code itself.

              Neither says that you need to give any modifications to any third party unless you are already giving them your software. So for internal usage there is no requirements. Likewise users of a softwa
      • Actually Yahoo is very open-source centric internally, its just that they aren't very good about giving things back.

        http://developer.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com] is the site for stuff that they release to the community. Compare this to http://code.google.com/ [google.com] and then please eat your words.

        YUI [yahoo.com] (BSD License) is a full javascript/ajax toolkit that rivals other such open toolkits out there (prototype, dojo, etc.), but is better documented, and will likely become the standard over the coming year or two.

        Yahoo! obviously

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sherloqq (577391)
      According to Zimbra's own press release [zimbra.com], "Yahoo! is also a major proponent of open technologies and this combination is a further testament to how serious they are about their intentions. You will continue to see active participation in developer APIs and forums. We are committed to keeping the current source open and available for use and we will continue to offer the network version that will contain value added proprietary features on top of the open product."
    • by Ilgaz (86384) * on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:52PM (#20642731) Homepage

      Perhaps I've missed something but isn't Yahoo usually not too fond of open source stuff? Perhaps they're changing their ways? Or maybe they just want to make Zimbra proprietary to kill any open souce competition? I guess time will only tell on this one...
      Yahoo exists thanks to Open Source.

      It is still the poster child for FreeBSD. They started on FreeBSD and kept using it to this date.

      They are offering free open source SDKs etc on http://developer.yahoo.com/ [yahoo.com]

      They certainly have a problem in PR department if a slashdot user thinks Yahoo is not fond of open source.
    • by allenw (33234)
      Hopefully those of us at Yahoo! [oreilly.com] working on Hadoop [apache.org] (and its related project Pig [yahoo.com]) can help change this perception.
    • You're missing something. Yahoo are based primarily on BSD servers, and have been since their early days. They are big supporters of Hadoop, YUI, Flickr and other open source projects. Now with Zimbra in their stable, they should be an interesting group to watch.
  • by juuri (7678) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:33PM (#20642459) Homepage
    Last year I setup a dual box zimbra system to replace some rather high traffic imap servers that served ~1200 users with 550+ concurrent during periods of heavy load, with a *lot* of incoming and outgoing mail peppered full of attachments. I was pretty skeptical at first about how the system would hold up, but not only was it solid, in many ways it was much faster than the previous system, especially with the mailboxes that were huge in size.

    Solid backups, good inegration with third party software, easy extension and a solid upgrade in place system makes for a great product. It didn't hurt that their techs were responsive and actually knew about all the software (much of it OSS) that their product was based on. I'm suprised that is Yahoo though, figured it would be Apple to turn into their enterprise mail platform.

    • Agreed (Score:5, Interesting)

      by porkThreeWays (895269) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:56PM (#20642789)
      Zimbra is by far the best at what it does. It's better than every web based Groupware (is that the proper name?) software out there. Let's just hope Yahoo doesn't run it into the ground. I don't see why they'd actually want or need this software. Yahoo already has lot's of talented programmers and pretty decent software. The Zimbra code is probably useless to them and all of Zimbra's features and quality could be copied without owning them. It isn't like Google buying Youtube (i.e. buying established users) because Zimbra really only has a cult following. For how good it is, it really isn't that popular. This purchase really confuses me. Like I said, I hope they actually do something with Zimbra instead of buying it and letting it sit on the shelf.
      • Likely Yahoo bought them for the MAPI integration and the mobile sync.
      • by mpcooke3 (306161)
        Maybe they plan to use it to compete with google for domains, the groupware functionality on Google for Domains is probably not as advanaced as Zimbra - although it does start up faster.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      Last year I setup a dual box zimbra system to replace some rather high
      traffic imap servers that served ~1200 users with 550+ concurrent during
      periods of heavy load, with a *lot* of incoming and outgoing mail peppered
      full of attachments. I was pretty skeptical at first about how the system
      would hold up, but not only was it solid, in many ways it was much faster
      than the previous system, especially with the mailboxes that were huge in
      size.

      The only thing that surprises me is that this continues to surprise peop

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:39PM (#20642535)
    They really should have taken a look at zombo.com. There are many more possibilities there, according to the sources I've queried.
  • interetsing to note that zimbra uses google for mail search ... :P
    • by marcmac (105570)
      That is not correct. Zimbra's search control also offers the ability to search google, but google is not involved in the mail search.
  • Ugggh...Comcast (Score:2, Insightful)

    by us7892 (655683)
    inked a deal with Comcast

    This had me interested until I read that they made a deal with the devil.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:44PM (#20642595) Homepage Journal
    This is not yet another competitor for Microsoft Office or Open Office. (God knows we don't need any more!) Zimbra is a little more specialized, concentrating on email, scheduling, and other "collaboration" stuff.

    I seem to recall trying Zimbra a little while back and not being terribly impressed. Yahoo seems to have a history of buying companies for the sake of products or services they would have been better off developing themselves. Anybody remember broadcast.com?
    • by Ilgaz (86384) *
      The interface and concept Zimbra and Thinkfree.com offers is the future of Office IMHO.

      They just need more advanced web browsers and/or java.
    • Well, "Microsoft Office" includes the "Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server". Thats not the same as Zimbra (the closest OSS product is Alfresco), but there are quite some overlaps.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fm6 (162816)
        Yeah, and MSOffice also includes an email client, which is one of the central apps in Zimbra. But Zimbra as I recall does not include word processing or spreadsheets, which are both basics of "office suites". Like I said, it's more specialized.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ZephyrXero (750822)
      Zimbra has been primarily focused on email (ala GMail, or Yahoo's own new beta webmail service), but they've recently begun working on adding office functionality [zimbra.com] (ala Google Docs & Spreadsheets, or ZoHo) to it's feature list. This would be really great for the business I work for as we'd much rather host our own web-based office stuff than lease it from Google or someone, and it's open source...I hope to God Yahoo doesn't screw Zimbra up.
    • by Ajehals (947354)

      This is not yet another competitor for Microsoft Office or Open Office. (God knows we don't need any more!)

      We need as many quality "productivity suites"(ugh) as possible, as long as they support sensible formats. The more choice the better, one would hope that more competition, coupled with open source code and open standards can only mean increased innovation and quality.

      I do see the issues with diluting the pool of qualified coders working on any given project, but I would say the risk of that are outweighed by the benefits.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fm6 (162816)

        We need as many quality "productivity suites"(ugh) as possible, as long as they support sensible formats.

        You mean, as long as they all support the same format. Which they have to do so that people using different products can share files. These formats are, by their nature, messy, and without standardization you have no hope of going from WordBunny to WeaselWord to ZorkOffice without getting all your formats messed up. Fortunately, people are finally beginning to get this.

        But forget "the more competition

  • oooo, this could turn out bad. There has been a lot of talk of Microsoft buying Yahoo in an attempt to catch up to Google. And if MSFT does buy Yahoo, thereby acquiring Zimbra, it is another FOSS code base that we might lose time and effort on.

    Of course, we don't want to speculate needlessly about a Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo. This is exactly the wedge that we see Microsoft driving into the FOSS community with their deals with Novell, Xandros, and Linspire. Undoubtedly, one of the benefits to Microsoft of the Yahoo acquisition talks is that many members of the FOSS community will shy away from Yahoo, simply because they might become a Microsoft property. And even people who like Microsoft and its products might hesitate to use Yahoo products and services if they see Yahoo stumbling.

    So I would like to see Yahoo get its financial house in order. I am really fond of Google and its products and services, and I tend to use Google tools and properties more than the Yahoo counterparts. But I wouldn't want to have competition in this area reduced to only two major players: Microsoft and Google.

    So come on, Yahoo, get your act together! And stop talking with Microsoft about acquisitions! Ick!
    • by argent (18001)
      What happens depends on the license. Can you fork Zimbra, or is the license effectively tied up with them?

      If they've got proprietary control that can't be picked up by anyone willing to create a fork, it's not really open source in the BSD sense.
      • Okay, this is actually a good point. I was a little sloppy in my original post. It is probably NOT the code that we lose, because the license is probably truly an open source / Free Software license. It's the community that we lose. Or at least the community has to migrate from one name to another. So you are right, it could become more of a speed bump than a real obstacle.

        But IMHO, there is occasionally some juice that is lost and confusion generated when projects change. For example, Mambo became
    • by Locutus (9039)
      I heard that purchasing Zimbra was a pre-requisite for Microsoft purchasing Yahoo. ;-)

      LoB
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by carlivar (119811)
      Yahoo is, what, 95% FreeBSD and Linux? I just laugh at these Microsoft rumors. I seriously doubt Microsoft's pride would ever allow them to acquire that much open-source software. They probably realize it would be nearly impossible to convert to Windows, too. At the very least they'd probably lose over 50% of Yahoo's engineering staff if they tried such a thing.
  • Zimbra.
    It took me a while to not read that as "Yahoo buys Zambia for $350M."
    Sure enough the high price was what tipped me off to my mistake.

  • I swear, sometimes it's hard to tell who has dumber names: Web 2.0 startups, or Open Source projects.

    It's like the Dot-com Bubble all over again. I can't wait until next week's story, about how WUB.com has bought Flizmo for $X50 Thrillion...
    • by Khyber (864651)
      Actually, if you think about it, given most of these animalistic names you'd think furries were the hired naming/marketing force.

      Not like I have room to speak since I associate with that particular subculture. But come on, FireFox? IceWeasel? Thunderbird? Gecko (the engine behind FireFox IIRC) and so on. GAIM is now Pidgin. C'mon, this outta say something!
  • Every website Yahoo has created, and every service, you can just feel their touch. The touch of incompetence. Their web mail client sucks. Their image sharing service sucked. Their search engine sucked (at least until Google came along).

    Yahoo is an incompetent company and everything that they have done and I have seen sucked.
    • by Rakishi (759894)

      Their search engine sucked (at least until Google came along).
      Well given that Yahoo didn't have it's own search engine until after google came along it was likely no worse than other search engines of the period. It's sort of stupid to claim something sucks because all the options at the time were bad and something better came along later. Then again based on your post I guess stupid probably is a good description of you in general.
      • by Peaker (72084)
        Yahoo sure had a search engine, which was based on manual human categorizing.

        It sucked, and brought rather irrelevant results.

        Yahoo is an incompetent company making incompetent services.
  • I don't really care for the licensing terms, as long as the source is available for private perusal.

    But opening up your source-code repository is not quite cutting it to me. Where be the releases? I want to see zimbra-N.K.tar.bz2, along with an earlier zimbra-N.K-1.tar.bz2, and, maybe, the preview of zimbra-N+1.beta.tar.bz2.

    That's Open Source...

  • The flash based Pronto! email, calendar, VoIP, media, rss reader, jabber, pbx and more client we make is light, fast, and scales much better. The install can be downloaded, installed and configured in less than 30 minutes. The entire package is under 15 megs single binary with more than 20 operating systems/hardware combinations supported. There is a live demo system running at [talktoip.com] http://talktoip.com/ [talktoip.com] if you'd like to create an account and see for yourself. If you would rather run the software to test you ca
  • Uhh (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Peeteriz (821290)

    Another case of RIAA selling shoddy, lame products.
    My friendly neighbouring pirates are distributing high-quality, premium versions of the same songs that are fully compatible with everything!

    No wonder that RIAA can't compete with them, as RIAA is selling cheap knockoffs, while pirates are offering the real goods.
  • Why did they buy it if it's open source? Couldn't they just download it?
  • Anyone who seriously looked at Zimbra already knows that it has a couple of limitations, one of which is that the "open source" version is quite stripped down. If you want the fully functional version you have to pay for it. It is also extremely resource hungry, carrying with it an entire Java application server, an entire copy of MySQL, etc. etc. etc.

    That having been said, Zimbra does have a gorgeous UI and it'll be interesting to see what Yahoo does with it.

    So what's left for those of us who want to r
    • by khanyisa (595216)
      You're complaining about it being "stripped down" and "extremely resource hungry" at the same time. Most of the features missing in the open source version are the multi-server features, and proprietary app integration (Outlook etc). The actual application features are fantastic. It's heavy if you try and run it for a single user on a slow machine, which I did for a while. Now we run it on our middle-of-the-range server for our company email and it works a treat. There have been significant performance impr
  • To be honest, i was more interested in seeing where this got: http://sourceforge.net/projects/openchange/ [sourceforge.net]

    It looked pretty good and has some decent names behind it (now, that wasnt always the case). Plus its kinda functional in both directions in that they were bringing out a native exchange connector for evolution.

    I remember writing a whole concept article about a replacement for mail a while ago based on the whole tagging concept but could never get it started. The motivation though was really about the la
  • I've been using the Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) for about three weeks, and it has a loooong way to go. It's slow and lacks user interface basics like "Undo." The next version just adds more half-implemented bells and whistles.

    Hopefully Yahoo will buy Zimbra a few usability engineers. And an accessibility consultant. And a fleet of documentation writers. If their track record holds (del.icio.us, flickr), this will be good for folks like me who could care less what dotcom is at the helm, but just want th
  • When I replaced OpenGroupware at my church about a year ago, I looked at both Zimbra and Scalix. Both seemed to do about the same thing, in about the same way. I installed both and tried them out. Functionally, on the web client, I couldn't tell the difference. From an installation point-of-view, Scalix won hands-down. (The Outlook plugin was a little testy, but once the replication stuff was properly setup, it's all been good.) The point that really "sold" the system to me was that I needed the system to d

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