Did you hear that one of the web's most popular web-based collaboration suites, Zimbra, was purchased by virtualization leader, VMware? Zimbra customers like the idea of VMware owning the software suite. Industry observers have differing opinions on the topic. Formerly owned by Yahoo, Zimbra now has the advantages of VMware's marketing engine and huge customer base behind it. So, what's the downside? Is this VMware-Zimbra connection a good idea?

I think everyone wins in this situation. I know, this is a departure for me. Perhaps it's the new year, the new decade or that this is one of those rare situations that makes sense from every angle.

It's good for Yahoo, because they now they have some cash in the bank and they are out of a business that is foreign to them. Yahoo is great at what they do but Zimbra wasn't a good fit for them.
Zimbra customers and partners will benefit from this purchase because VMware has years of experience in selling software and improving it for a massive audience.

But, what, you ask, does VMware get out of this?
VMware purchased a huge customer base, a first-rate collaboration suite and it adds to their plan to stake their claim in the burgeoning SaaS market.

What will you see in the future from VMware? You'll still have the excellent Zimbra offering but now you'll have the power of VMware under it. You'll also see a new targeted audience for VMware: Small businesses that want to leverage cloud computing for money savings. I think you'll also see Zimbra appliances appearing in businesses of all sizes built on VMware's technology.

But, I think VMware's off-the-radar strategy is to break in to the small business market, which is their least penetrated market due to the expense and complexity of a VMware virtual environment. Zimbra gives them the edge they're looking for to introduce their services and products.

Zimbra and VMware: Is this a good idea? Yep. I'm afraid so. There is no downside, unless you're a competitor.

What do you think of the buyout of Zimbra by VMware? Do you think that Zimbra enhances VMware's offerings?