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VMware Sells Zimbra to Telligent

The new company will be led by an integrated management team under Telligent CEO Patrick Brandt

VMware has sold off its partially open source Zimbra messaging and collaboration assets to Telligent, which means to merge with Zimbra to form a new software company offering what it called "the first unified social collaboration suite built for the post-PC era." Terms were not disclosed.

Apparently the new reconstituted Zimbra will get an undisclosed amount of funding from Intel Capital, NXT Capital Venture Finance, BDCA, Hall Financial Group and VMware to combine Zimbra's comprehensive messaging and collaboration solutions with Telligent's social community, collaboration and analytics software.

The new company will be led by an integrated management team under Telligent CEO Patrick Brandt.

VMware described the financial impact of the divestiture as "immaterial" and said it was already included in its 2013 guidance. It said the sale completes the "divestitures associated with realignment actions" announced at the end of January to focus on its three strategic growth priorities: software-defined data center, hybrid cloud and end-user computing.

It blogged that "to continue focusing on these areas, we determined that the collaboration and communication features of Zimbra as a standalone product would be best delivered by a partner such as Telligent in order to continue enhancing the Zimbra technology platform and growing the business."

VMware bought Zimbra from Yahoo in early 2010 meaning to extend its virtualization infrastructure into a more complete cloud platform and push into productivity apps delivered as a service. Yahoo had bought the widgetry in 2007 for $350 million to compete against Microsoft Exchange and Google Apps.

With the heightened use of tablets and smartphones in mind, Brandt said in a statement that, "This acquisition is a reflection of how people collaborate in today's post-PC era. Zimbra enables traditional collaboration through features such as e-mail, calendar sharing and address books, while Telligent supports real-time collaboration via chat, social networking and online communities. The combination of the two will enable companies to easily share documents and ideas instantly, providing true unified collaboration."

The acquisition is supposed to give Zimbra the chance to "return to its roots as an independent collaboration software leader with a vibrant open source community."

Zimbra widgetry will continue to be available both on premise and in the cloud. The combined company will have a global base of more than 5,000 customers - roughly half of them contributed by Zimbra - and 400 partners; it will maintain its worldwide presence, with offices in Dallas, where it is headquartered, Palo Alto, Tokyo, London and Pune, India.

Telligent customers include Cadbury, Dell, Microsoft, Oxfam and Rackspace.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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