Yahoo Yanks Zimbra

Email archiving goes M&A crazy

September 19, 2007

2 Min Read
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It was a few weeks ago when I first touched base with email archiving startup Zimbra, shooting the breeze for a while with CTO Scott Dietzen.

One of a number of firms jostling for position in the archiving race, Zimbra was touting the ability to store emails and then perform e-discovery on them. Surprisingly, Dietzen explained his desire to challenge the storage/security behemoth that is Symantec.

It gave one pause. Here was a four-year-old startup with just over 100 employees and around a dozen customers taking aim at one of the biggest software companies in the IT industry. Sure, Zimbra's messaging/archiving/discovery trifecta sounded great, but going after Enterprise Vault seemed just a bit too David and Goliath.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Yahoo threw down $350 million for Zimbra, and Dietzen's bluster started to make more sense.

With Microsoft and Google cranking up their email archiving efforts over recent months, Yahoo has clearly earmarked Zimbra as a way to boost its Yahoo Mail offering, particularly in universities and businesses.Zimbra is in the right place at the right time. Service providers are climbing over each other to cash in on archiving and the add-on services that can go with it. A couple of months ago, classification specialist Autonomy coughed up $375 million for Zimbra's rival Zantaz and Google spent $625 million to acquire Postini as part of an effort to improve its managed services.

Service providers' archiving tear makes sense when you consider the changing nature of compliance. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), for instance, once chiefly an enterprise concern, are forcing other organizations to face the same stringent data retention rules.

What's more, data of all kinds has acquired an importance unheard of just a few years back. From lost emails in the White House to Intel's storage snafu, this is one issue that will not disappear.

It's a safe bet the M&A wave is just rolling back for a fresh onslaught. Now that Zimbra and Zantaz have been swallowed up, will service providers and maybe even storage vendors start working their way up the email archiving alphabet? Watch out, MessageOne and Fortiva.Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Fortiva Inc.

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)

  • Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)

  • MessageOne

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • Postini Inc.

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO)

  • Zantaz Inc.

  • Zimbra Inc.0

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