VMware snaps up Yahoo's Zimbra

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VMware snaps up Yahoo's Zimbra

Open-source email suite for vSphere environments.

Virtualisation software firm VMware has announced plans to acquire Zimbra, an open-source email suite, for an undisclosed sum.

Zimbra is currently owned by Yahoo, but rumours circulated towards the end of last year that Yahoo wanted to offload the firm as part of its efforts to slim down its portfolio and concentrate on priority areas of the business.

The Zimbra Suite provides email, contacts, calendar, search, VoIP and document-authoring tools.

VMware said that it plans to close the deal in the first quarter of this year.

VMware claimed that the suite can take the complexity out of data centre, desktop and IT development, and plans to optimise Zimbra products for vSphere-based cloud infrastructures, alongside other messaging collaboration solutions from the likes of Microsoft and IBM.

"Over the coming years, we expect more organisations, especially small and medium sized businesses, to increasingly buy core IT solutions that deliver cloud-like simplicity in end-user and operational experience," said Brian Byun, VMware cloud services vice president and general manager.

"Zimbra is a great example of the type of scalable 'cloud era' solutions that can span smaller, on-premise implementations to the cloud. It will be a building block in an expanding portfolio of solutions that can be offered as a virtual appliance or by a cloud service provider."

VMware said that it will support Zimbra's existing products and open-source efforts, and that, although the terms of the agreement mean that it is purchasing all Zimbra technology and intellectual property, Yahoo will still be able to use the technology in its communications services, including Yahoo Mail and Calendar.

Yahoo acquired Zimbra in 2007 for US$350m ($379m), but has closed a large number of its businesses under chief executive Carol Bartz, including Geocities, Yahoo 360, Yahoo Gallery, the Bix karaoke service, as well as video properties such as Yahoo Live, Jumpcut and Maven.

Bartz took over Yahoo last January, and said that the firm's key priorities are display advertising and delivering a more mobile experience to customers.

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