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Yahoo's Zimbra e-mail service heads to school

Yahoo now offers educational institutions discounted pricing to run its Zimbra server software for e-mail and collaboration.

Yahoo on Tuesday released a hosted version of its Zimbra e-mail and calendar software for educational customers.

Zimbra is open-source software, which means anybody can install it for free, but Yahoo also offers Zimbra Hosted as a subscription for which customers pay. The education version has a "substantial discount" in pricing over the regular commercial version, Yahoo said.

Ordinary e-mail and calendar software such as Microsoft Outlook can be used to connect to Zimbra servers, but Yahoo also offers Web browser-based tools for using Zimbra.

One site using the hosted service is Kansas State University, with 30,000 students, faculty, staff, and alumni, said James Lyall, associate vice provost of IT at Kansas State University.

Zimbra competes not just with Microsoft's dominant Exchange server software, but also with the Google Apps service from Yahoo's top Internet rival.

Yahoo acquired Zimbra for $350 million in 2007. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company is using Zimbra technology for a revamp of Yahoo Calendars and, later, Yahoo Mail. Last week, President Sue Decker gave Zimbra a mention as one of the acquisitions that helped increase the company's revenue.