So now what happens to Zimbra?

Zimbra may get caught in the crossfire between Yahoo! and Microsoft.

Reading through this Wall Street Journal article, I'm increasingly worried about Zimbra. The article traces Microsoft's efforts to buy Yahoo!'s search business while leaving the rest of its business(es) to an AOL Time Warner or News Corp. This might be good for Microsoft, and it might be good for Yahoo!, but where would it leave Zimbra?

Zimbra doesn't fit any of these companies. Arguably, it could fit well inside Microsoft (if Microsoft wanted a serious upgrade to its web-based Outlook, something extensible that could attract a development community, contrary to Paula's well-reasoned opinion), and still has a future within Yahoo!. But these others?

It's not about what happens to Zimbra users' data should Microsoft acquire Yahoo! and take Zimbra along with it. It's what happens to Zimbra, the product, should anything other than wholesale Yahoo! acquisition happen.

Microsoft is smart enough to recognize great technology: I can't see it dumping Zimbra. But if a News Corp. were to acquire the Zimbra assets, what would it possibly do with them? The best we could hope for would be an asset sale that would see Zimbra move to, say, Google, Apple, or Adobe.

As a Zimbra customer, I want it to stick around. I love the Zimbra experience, even despite some glitches. With a Yahoo! bifurcation into search/everything else, however, I'm worried about what will happen to Zimbra.

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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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