VMware Unloads Zimbra to Telligent

After three years of owning open source email collaboration vendor Zimbra, VMware is selling Zimbra to social community vendor Telligent.

VMware acquired Zimbra from Yahoo! in 2010 for an undisclosed amount. Like VMware, Yahoo! only owned Zimbra for three years. Yahoo! acquired Zimbra in September of 2007 for $350 million.

As was the case when VMware acquired Zimbra from Yahoo!, financial terms of the sale to Telligent are not being publicly disclosed.

Telligent plans to enhance Zimbra with a social community base. Telligent is not only acquiring Zimbra, they are also merging with it to form a new company called Zimbra, offering a unified social collaboration suite.

“Zimbra enables traditional collaboration through features such as email, calendar sharing and address books, while Telligent supports real-time collaboration via chat, social networking, online communities and more,” said Patrick Brandt, CEO of Telligent, in a statement. “The combination of the two will enable companies to easily share documents and ideas instantly, providing true unified collaboration.”

As to why VMware is exiting the email collaboration business, it all has to do with priorities. Erik Frieberg, VP, product marketing, End-User Computing at VMware, commented that VMware today has three priorities: software-defined data center, hybrid cloud, and end-user computing. While email collaboration can fit into end-user computing, VMware determined that Zimbra’s capabilities would be better served and advanced as a standalone product delivered by a partner.

“Given its focus and complementary technology, Telligent is ideally suited to enable continued growth for Zimbra,” Carl Eschenbach, president and COO, VMware, said in a statement. “We are confident that we will provide a smooth transition for customers and partners and that they will be in good hands with seamless product support, further technology innovation and additional go-to-market investments.”

According to VMware, over the three years that it owned Zimbra, the company did grow its footprint to over 85 million mailboxes. While VMware is selilng Zimbra, it still remains a partner and investor in the effort.

According to long-time Zimbra employee John Rob, the acquisition is not expected to impact the next major release of Zimbra (JudasPriest), scheduled for early next year.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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