Yahoo is reportedly going to unload Zimbra, the open source email company it bought in 2007 for $350 million. According to Kara Swisher at BoomTown Zimbra is as good as gone.
Let's hear it for focus---Swisher notes that Yahoo is also trying to unload other businesses---but Zimbra had some real potential. Yahoo is expected to unveil a new campaign that's heavy on the consumer focus on Tuesday so something that's more business focused---like Zimbra---is expendable.
It's unknown what Zimbra could have been without its Yahoo detour, but it's shocking how bullish Yahoo execs were on the open source email app in 2007. In fact, a trip down memory lane was comical.
First, I wrote:
Zimbra will be an interesting addition to Yahoo’s portfolio. The subliminal message from Yahoo seems to be this: Yahoo won’t let Google Docs and Spreadsheets get traction without a fight. Zimbra is well respected and could get more traction with some marketing heft.
But that wasn't bad as former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang's take:
“Our industry-leading communications products, including Yahoo! Mail, are critical to the future growth and success of Yahoo!. Zimbra’s tremendous talent and innovative technology will help to extend our core Mail offerings, further strengthening our strong leadership position in this space. Additionally, Zimbra’s successful relationships with large ISPs are key as we expand our worldwide partner network and continue to focus on our commitment to being the partner of choice.”
Now we know the truth. Perhaps Yang should have said:
We're going to take Zimbra, use a few features, realize we don't know what to do with it and unload it at a loss. And oh by the way I probably won't be CEO when this promising company is sold.
If we only knew at the time.