Yahoo’s open-source alternative to Microsoft Exchange Server – Zimbra – has just released version 5.0 of their collaboration suite. If you recall, Zimbra was acquired by Yahoo in September 2007. This latest release includes some much-needed upgrades, including support for RIM’s BlackBerry devices, and improvements to their browser-based email client.
With Zimbra 5.0, users will now be able to use the browser based client to not only check their email, but also to collaborate on documents through a wiki, instant message , and even share files. Other enhancements include more integrated Yahoo features, such as Yahoo search and local search, and Yahoo Maps embedding capability. In other words, it’s become more like Yahoo’s web-based email.
Zimbra also has a desktop client, which now has support for non-Zimbra accounts. Unfortunately, the desktop client has not yet added support for instant messaging, file sharing, or document collaboration. But, at least those featured did make it into the browser-based version this time around.
BlackBerry addicts out there may be especially pleased with this last improvement: Zimbra has now released a version of their server that works with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, making them only the fourth company to develop compatibility with the BlackBerry server. Even more impressive is that Zimbra is the first one to do it without direct help from RIM.
Zimbra is utilized mostly in the business world, where customers have the option of installing their server package locally, or paying a 3rd party to host the software remotely. Along with the announcement of the release of Zimbra 5.0, they also noted that they had surpassed the 20,000 customers and 11 million mailboxes marks.