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By | Cade Metz 21st September 2009 23:26

Yahoo! to shed open source Exchange rival?

Zimbra on the block

Yahoo! may be shedding more mojo.

According to All Things Digital, the web giant is looking to offload Zimbra, the open-source email and collaboration outfit it acquired just two years ago for $350m. Sources tell ATD that Comcast and Google are potential buyers.

Comcast is a Zimbra user - the open source package powers the communications suite it serves up to broadband customers - while Google is a conspicuous competitor, offering up its own email and collaboration tools via its web-based Google Apps suite.

The Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) provides email, contacts, calendar, search, VoIP, and doc-authoring tools. It runs as an Exchange-like in-house server, but it's accessed from a browser-based client. According to the company, it's now powering more than 50 million paid mailboxes worldwide.

Zimbra tech is also part of Yahoo!'s web-based Mail and Calendar tools for consumer Yahooligans. And by Yahoo!'s count, the Zimbra open source community is now 30,000-developers strong, driving more than 50,000 open source downloads a month.

A Yahoo! spokeswoman declined to comment on today's ATD story. But shopping Zimbra wouldn't be out of character for CEO Carol Bartz, who's working to slim the company down in more ways than one. According to ATD, Yahoo! is also shopping personals and online classified-ad businesses, but it's the loss of Zimbra that would continue Yahoo!'s slow transformation from tech outfit to ad-obsessed media mammoth.

After Yahoo! agreed to offload its search biz to Microsoft, Doug Cutting - founder of the open-source Hadoop platform that underpins many of the company's online services - left the company for the Hadoop startup Cloudera. He says his departure was unrelated to the Redmond pact. But he left nonetheless. ®

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