While a Microsoft takeover of Yahoo would most obviously impact consumers the most, it would also affect businesses. One of the first casualties of such a merger would likely be Yahoo’s Zimbra open-source messaging server, which they acquired in September 2007 for about $350 million.
Zimbra is considered to be an open-source alternative to the Microsoft Exchange platform, and already has a pretty impressive client list. Amongst Zimbra’s customers are Mozilla.org, MySQL, Digg, Raytheon, University of Berne, and the UCLA.
Nevertheless, many are not hopeful with regards to Zimbra’s existence in a Microsoft-Yahoo merger. One blogger suggests:
“The chances of Zimbra remaining a part of Yahoo [if it is] purchased by Microsoft are minimal [but the news] creates opportunities for Zimbra to be spun-off/bought/sold prior to such a purchase given the interests of the prospective new company are not aligned.”
Another blogger, Raju Vegesna of Zoho, was also pretty pessimistic:
“If you look at Zimbra, it really is an Exchange competitor. Yahoo probably bought it to build a platform around email, gaining from Zimbra’s expertise on email. When Microsoft completes the acquisition, we can safely assume that the Exchange competition will no longer exist. Yahoo might integrate some goodies from Zimbra into its webmail client [but] all the server side stuff of Zimbra might die a quick death.”
The library I work at also signed on as a Zimbra client this past fall, and having used the service for several months now, I’d actually be pleased by the death of it. It’s slow, it’s bulky, and doesn’t have many of the features I (and others) would like. Then again, maybe I’ve become too spoiled by the speed, simplicity, and all-around-awesomeness of Gmail to “like” any corporate email service ever again.