drat. Saw this too late, and didn't make the call. Did anyone here make it? (2:00PST correct)?
drat. Saw this too late, and didn't make the call. Did anyone here make it? (2:00PST correct)?
Thanks everyone for joining our Call today. We're very pleased with the turnout on such short notice.
A couple followups to make sure that major questions are answered.
If you have other questions or comments, please post them. We'll get to them as soon as we can.
- No Ads in either the Network Edition or Open Source edition.
- Source code and binaries will still be available.
- Still Open Source? Yes.
- If applicable, we'll be shipping Yahoo Zimlets, but you may customize them as you see fit.
- Yahoo Mail for consumers and Zimbra will be two separate units. Zimbra will not replace yahoo mail or vice versa.
- Outlook 2007 Connector stuff will not be delayed because of the acquisition. It will be available as soon as possible.
- Community will stay in tact. Zimbra employees are locked in for 3 years.
No changes in anything are expected until ZCS 5.5.
Hope this helps clear up things,
damn damn damn, i thought PST was 9 hours behind me, must be only 8 hours!
oh well, thanks for the updates john.
despite all the reservations voiced here, which I share, congrats to Zimbra for creating such a great product and earning lots of money from it! this is one of the very few cases in tech where a buyout is richly deserved purely from a tech point of view.
Pity about the such short notice, didn't allow for international clients to be present.
While I have grave concerns where this is going I have just resigned for another year, however I was going to sign up for an additional 3 years.
Will take a wait and see approach.. First sign of a smiley or Yahoo toolbar in my suite and I'll dump it.
zimbra had in March 6 Million paid mailboxes (plus the 12 million Comcast option)... hm...
If i do a very very rough calculation I take 6 million x 15 USD (25 USD plus some discounts for the big ones in the mix)....
So it feels like Yahoo has just paid 2-3 years of revenue.
(but hey, I am just a silly technican. So please tell us your thoughts - "Would you have signed the deal if you were Zimbra?")
On my second day realising the 'deal'... (this word tastes like a dirty coin you know...) ;-)
my very subjective feeling is, that Yahoo got a cheap price, if they want to stop a - right now nearly exploding - competitor.
If they play well, then I will be happy to receive my christmas gift this year: Simplyfied licensing (per single NE user) and mixed mode for lowering hosting costs (OSS and NE on the same Hardware, just License control separates the features per user)...
So I will write my christmas wish list veryearly this year...
(But in the meantime our time and money investments into researching Zimlets go on hold, and go into research for the future of our small ISP route of the engine for the 'killer application number one'-email 1993-2006 qmail 2006-2007 Zimbra 2008- ???)
Here's what I else I thought I heard on the call that may put some folks at ease (or not).
I asked how Yahoo expected to make a return on their $350 million investment. I thought I heard that there would be two revenue streams: the first from NE customers, just like now.
The second revenue stream I thought I heard was that Yahoo will be offering a hosted Zimbra solution itself, where users who don't want ads can pay something to have an ad-free Zimbra experience.
This same Yahoo hosting environment will have restrictions on which Zimlets can be loaded; I understood the current thinking would be that Yahoo would provide a library of Zimlets from which users could choose. The library would not offer custom zimlets nor likely zimlets like Google search due to security and competitive reasons, respectively.
I also thought I heard that partner pricing for NE licenses would be at an attractive enough price point so that companies like ours that offer hosted Zimbra will still be able to do so profitably, even though we will effectively be competing against Yahoo.
John, please feel free to correct or clarify anything above; the connection on the call was not always the best.
With best regards,
My thoughts are,
Will this affect code in Zimbra that use Yahoo's competitors. e.g. google searching, links to google calendar etc.
Also will this prevent Zimbra from making google zimlets.
One thing that attracted me to Zimbra was its independence from the major players allowing cross compatibility.
Well, we believe in eating our own dogfood (search wikipedia for that). Since we're a part of yahoo, we'll be using their search. However, that DOES NOT stop community members from updating/changing Zimlets for the provider of your choice. We'll even put them in our gallery for others to use, if you submit it.
As we launch 5.0, we'll be launching a renewed effort to ensure that the community knows how to build zimlets. Plus, if you ever need help hacking an existing zimlet. . .well I'll be here, and so will others
Will Zimbra software allow admins to change the default search that Zimbra uses to another engine like google. Of course installation default would be yahoo
Also I remember that one of the Zimbra team did a Gmail style theme - will that be forgotton, and will the Zimbra team be allowed that kind of freedom in the future ?
Please dont get me wrong regarding Yahoo, I have been using their online portal (email/calendar/briefcase) for many years and find their system excellent, particularly bookmarks, tabbed emails, finance (share portfolio) and toolbar integration.
Wonder if anyone at Yahoo (nee Zimbra) can confirm what forks would be possible with the Zimbra Code? Open Source does not equal Free (speech) software, can we take anything from the source that has been open and use it anywhere eles? The license was based on the Mozilla license and it was possible for Debian to convert the source for Firefox to IceWeasel and free the code. My reading of the Zimbra license is that this is not possible - can anyone with knowledge confirm that assertion?
As to the likely future, if you were a large hosting/marketing company with ageing mail systems and were at a competitive disadvantage - $350m dollars is a low cost way of reversing that disadvantage and removing a route for other future competition. They could just sit on the knowledge and the product and still readily justify the acquisition to the board.
The real drivers for a deal like this are the VCs not the employees or directors, CEOs etc. For young companies with significant high risk capital in them, even if they are doing well and have met targets, the VCs hold the company by the short n curlies.
There are no certainties in this life and it isn't/can't be known for certain whether this deal will be good or bad. In fact there probably isnt a simple good or bad, it is probably far too grey and indistinct an outcome to use such black and white terms.
The problem we have here as customers is we don't know the 'real' motives for the Yahoo! move. We felt we knew the Zimbra staff and management were geared to succeed with the software as they had personal commitment to success, demonstrated in the forums, development and support apart from the obvious monetary drives common to us all. They can now measure that success in terms of this deal and feel justified that they have produced a good product, so for them I am glad to say it must be a good deal.
From senior and middle positions I have had experience of a fair number of acquisitions, mergers, divestments etc and all the euphemisms applied to such activities. They often are not done for the sentiments publicly expressed, they are often not very successful, they are difficult to manage and from a corporate culture perspective often very stressful.
I hear the comments from staff and management and I understand that they themselves need to feel confident that their environments are not about to be made uncomfortable and no one wants to see Zimbra slide to obscurity or pervert to something far away from the original intentions.
The real problem is that you now have no control, ownership or influence other than that which you gain from understanding the real percieved value and motives of Yahoo! Zimbra is no longer what it was because you no longer have control of the code. All the talk and platitudes have no real currency when spoken from this point in the deal.
Perhaps even Yahoo! hasnt determined what to do yet. $350m is £175m and that is not really big money for Yahoo! It is good for the VCs who pumped in $30 (£15m) and the staff/management who had shares, they get some cash based financial compensation to comfort them if things go bad for them. Yahoo! could sit and let Zimbra run to v5 and then take time to consider where their best interest lie. So for 12-18months there is no need to change anything indeed changing anything significant for any acquisition would be a folly as it can take that long to get to understand it and prepare it for change.
What is sad from my perspective is that I settled for a product that appeared open but not free and I think the lesson here is that this type of hybrid license and product does not in itself provide the benefits most users imagined it would. Yes fast development, growing company but the core of open and free is the essential guarantor for the user and still seen as a 'problem' to some commercial authors.
I think I have learned that you have to really believe in Free as well as Open at the core or the thing risks becoming perverted when it rubs the old or traditional commercial world. All the other OSS collaboration servers have been/originated or became old style commercial software houses looking for a way forward. Unless there is a real FOSS attempt I think this scenario will keep repeating.
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