Microsoft & Open Source, an Oxymoron?

4 02 2008

I am writing this post out of great concern. For the past year, we have been planning the implementation of a new email system. Our network administrator is an advocate of software based on open source and I support that philosophy, especially in the school environment. He worked for Williams for four years, solely supporting Microsoft Email Exchange Servers and intimately knows its flaws.

Our plan has been to change from Novell Groupwise to Zimbra (read more here). Many of our co-workers don’t understand why we aren’t going to Microsoft Outlook. It’s been a tough sell. Then, this past September of 2007, we heard that Zimbra was being bought by Yahoo (see article). This actually was seen as a good move by some in our school. It seemed to add legitimacy to our plan.

Now, the news is that Microsoft may possibly buy Yahoo. WOW! My heart failed when I heard the news. It sounds like a shot-gun wedding. All I could think of is what’s going to happen to our Zimbra. We are implementing it this very month. Is it going to be eaten up by Microsoft and go away? After all of our hard work? Yikes?

Saturday, I received this email from the Zimbra folks:

Dear Tina,

I am writing to communicate and discuss the unsolicited proposal that Y! got
from MSFT. This is a proposal that our board is considering and this may or
may not be completed. This is a very early unsolicited preliminary proposal
and even if the board did decide to go in that direction there is a long
road ahead.

At Zimbra, nothing has changed. We will remain utterly and thoroughly
committed to making our customers successful. We will continue to innovate
at a great pace. We will continue to disrupt the market with products that
are years ahead of our competition. We will continue to embrace open
standards. That’s our DNA. And we remain committed to doing that.

Many businesses, partners, Higher-Eds and ISPs have committed to Zimbra by
becoming paying customers. And there is an even larger set that is part of
our open source community. We just made an irrevocable contribution of
Zimbra 5.0 to the open source. No one can take that away. We will remain
true and faithful to our contractual obligations and will do everything
possible to make sure that our biggest assets – you – remain confident that
we are here to stay and execute. Thankfully, I can confidently say that the
Zimbra movement is bigger than any one company.

We are going to raise the bar exceptionally high next week with the
announcement of Zimbra 5.0 and the release of Zimbra Desktop which
consolidates many different mailboxes into one user interface. It’s the
first client-only play by Zimbra where we allow you to use our client to
talk to gmail, yahoo! mail or any IMAP/POP source. We are pretty excited
about this because it will be ages ahead of its other desktop companions
while also being open source.

Thank you so much for allowing us to serve you… we are not planning to
stop serving you. I will pro-actively communicate as and when I hear
something official and tangible.


Satish Dharmaraj
Zimbra Co-Founder

I hope this is a prediction, but when Microsoft throws money at projects and decides they are taking over, it is hard to fight “Big Brother.” I certainly hope so Mr. Dhamaraj.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: