Gmail well behind Zimbra in offline accessibility

In the competition between Google and Yahoo, Google may well own search, but its e-mail is a distant second to the Zimbra, the open-source e-mail innovator acquired by Yahoo.

Google is pretty fast-moving, as company cultures go, rolling out new products on a regular basis. And yet its popular Gmail service is only just now getting around to providing offline e-mail access , a feature that open-source Zimbra has had for nearly two years.

Excuse me, therefore, if I stifle a yawn at Google's announcement. While Google may claim nearly 70 percent of the search market, its rival, Yahoo, which acquired Zimbra in September 2007, is outpacing it in e-mail innovation.

It has ever been thus. Google's heart appears to be in search, not in alternative services like e-mail: it's rarely first to market with cutting-edge features for Gmail.

Will it matter? Perhaps not. But as Google and Yahoo look beyond the consumer search market to enterprise IT, I believe that things like enterprise-class e-mail, which Yahoo has in Zimbra, will come to matter more and more. Google won't forever have the luxury of playing catch-up with Yahoo's Zimbra on a two-year time delay.

Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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