It was a rumor for some time but 45 minutes ago Steve Herrod, CTO of VMware, acknowledged that VMware has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Zimbra from Yahoo.



First of all, for those of you that don’t know, Zimbra delivers open-source email, calendaring, and collaboration software for deployment within companies of all sizes, as well as to cloud and hosting providers offering mail services over the web.  From a business perspective, Zimbra is one of the most popular collaboration software offerings, with more than 55,000,000 users and a subscriber base that is growing rapidly.

So, why does VMware buy their own e-mail. calendering and collaboration platform? This has nothing to do with virtualization, right?

According to Steve Herrod there are two main reasons for the acquisition:

  1. Zimbra will further VMware’s mission of simplifying IT.

    VMware’s mission is to simplify IT, and every VMware product focuses on attacking the complexity and rigidity that has crept into this world. In many ways we see the excitement over cloud computing to be a longing for a simpler, more flexible way of doing computing. The VMware strategy is to help customers achieve cloud-like efficiency and operational improvements across the major IT infrastructure investment areas.

  2. Zimbra will add to the portfolio of offerings VMware provides to the VMware vCloud partner.

    This second motivation is very much related to the above point. We launched our VMware vCloud™ initiative just over a year ago to develop an ecosystem of telecom, hosting, and service providers that offer cloud solutions based on VMware technologies. This ecosystem has grown by leaps and bounds, quickly surpassing 1,000 members. Today we offer this ecosystem VMware vSphere-based compute and storage infrastructure upon which they can offer what is commonly referred to as “infrastructure-as-a-service” (IaaS). With the acquisition of SpringSource, we can enable our partners to offer a higher level of cloud-based service; one where programmers can write their code and let the cloud handle the details of how and where it runs. This is commonly referred to as “platform-as-a-service” (PaaS). And with Zimbra, we will now offer our partners an even higher level of cloud capability; one where customers can simply use an application without worrying about the details of how and where it runs. This top layer of the hierarchy is known as “software-as-a-service” (SaaS).

With the coming acquisition of Zimbra I think VMware is trying to fight of their link with Microsoft and deliver a total package without being bound to a Microsoft operating system or Exchange implementation. This might be a smart move in the ongoing hypervisor battle because the Microsoft marketing machine is coming weather we like it or not.

For the complete article from Steve Herrod look here.