Home The Collaborative Cloud: Battle for the Inbox

The Collaborative Cloud: Battle for the Inbox

On Jan 12, VMware agreed to purchase Zimbra, a division of Yahoo! that’s known for its easy-to-use, paid inbox service. Zimbra, primarily a consumer application to date, offered a cloud solution last fall.

Now this cloud service is going to be part of VMware’s major push of enterprise services to the cloud. Thinking back a decade or so, this reminds us of the power of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office, arguably the best pairing and best business franchise in technology history, a $30 billion business today.

This new collaboration allows VMware to offer email, one of the stickiest services in IT, to a vast set of partners. This extends the solution loved by consumers to enterprise users that rely on email. On the competitive front, this move provides a way to unlock enterprises from Microsoft Exchange, perhaps the most entrenched system that Microsoft has with the enterprise customer today.

Exchange has been known as a double-edge sword for many IT shops for years. Yes, it has been the most-used application for nearly a decade, but it has been known as hard to use, scale, and administer. The promise of an integrated inbox that connects to back-office applications (e.g. Word, Powerpoint, Sharepoint) has been a real promise, but has been complicated to deploy. Thus, other solutions such as Zimbra have started to get a leg up in the race for collaboration in the enterprise. By enabling a cloud-based email service, Zimbra is already proving that it can scale its services and management capabilities to take on Microsoft Exchange head-on.

As a gateway to collaboration, email baked into the virtualization and cloud computing offering could significantly change the landscape on how services hook into the enterprise, and provide a new lever to offer an entire suite of cloud-based, virtually hosted systems.

On January 18th, IBM also announced it’s bringing its powerful enterprise class LotusLive collaboration tools to the cloud through open APIs. Throwing the power of IBM and the open web into the mix, is it now possible that Lotus could leapfrog Exchange and be cool again?

No small feat indeed, as IBM has seen more than a decade of enterprises ripping out Lotus and replacing with Exchange Server as a central hub. IBM’s move is a major signal that they see an opening up of the collaboration suite as the way to bring collaboration to enterprise users, instead of through IT development and customization.

The purchase of Zimbra is a tipping point in moving systems to the cloud that will capture the hearts and minds of developers that are building new services, and IT leaders in the enterprise. The outcome will be more back-end services offered in the cloud, and it is bringing the giants out of their caves to respond and meet Zimbra in the new battlefield.

Below is a snapshot of key feature sets that Zimbra highlights in its comparison to Exchange. What would it take you to switch your enterprise email to the cloud?

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.