After a week of new year’s buzz, the rumors were confirmed by VMware’s CTO Steve Herrod. When he tweeted a link to his blog entry at http://blogs.vmware.com/console/2010/01/vmware-to-acquire-zimbra.html, Steve Herrod not only set off a retweet storm, he also unleashed a storm of speculation that had been brewing for days.
|Is VMware trying to take on Microsoft and launch a challenge to Exchange’s dominance of the email landscape?
Is VMware spreading itself too thin?
Is VMware losing its focus on the hypervisor and infrastructure management?
I actually think that this is a good strategic move for VMware. I liked it when I first began hearing rumors last week, and I have grown to like it more as I have continued to think about it.
I do not see this as a challenge to Exchange, at least not in principal. I see the Zimbra purchase as adding value to the cloud, and a perfect example of an application that thrives in a cloud environment. As email delivery has become somewhat of a commodity, the barrier of entry for an email tool wanting to compete with Exchange has been lowered dramatically. An email infrastructure that leverages the flexibility and ease of use of a virtual application will be very interesting to many organizations. It not only carries its own value, but it also adds value to the infrastructure that hosts it.
As I continue to contemplate the upside of adding Zimbra to the cloud catalog, I begin to think of who may be next. Drupal? Joomla? Maybe some other portal or collaboration tool? Not to compete with SharePoint, though it will be seen that way, but simply to add value. It looks to be a very interesting 2010.