Earlier this week, Zimbra (formerly known as Telligent) announced that it had acquired Houston, Texas-based Mezeo for an undisclosed sum, adding Mezeo’s file sharing and storage capabilities to Zimbra’s growing portfolio of collaboration-based solutions. Since the company’s strategic acquisition of the Zimbra business from VMware in 2013, the newly renamed Zimbra has been fleshing out its ambitious strategy and getting its head around the opportunities available to it as it looks to compete more directly with the major players in the enterprise collaboration/email space—notably Microsoft and IBM and, to a lesser extent, Google.
As both IBM and Microsoft reposition to take advantage of a public cloud-focused strategy, Zimbra’s angle focuses more on the private cloud or on-premise opportunity, building on its own existing on-premise customer base (both Telligent’s historic business plus the Zimbra open source mail and collaboration business). Mezeo fits well in this context, with its private cloud file sync-and-share and storage offerings, and helps Zimbra address the emerging area of the market that is currently dominated by the likes of Box. As my colleague Craig Wentworth (who covers the enterprise file sync & share market for MWD) noted, the private cloud perspective will give it an edge on Box from some customers’ perspectives, but puts it in competition with the likes of Intralinks, Alfresco and Egnyte.
At this level, the acquisition makes a lot of sense; however I do have concerns whether the company is taking on too much at once with another acquisition (though admittedly a much less sizable one). To really take advantage of the breadth of its portfolio, Zimbra will need to work fast to bring the various products together in a way that differentiates it significantly from its rather larger competitors in this space, and I’m not convinced yet that it has the resources (or the vision) to do this at a pace that will enable it to remain at the forefront of this rapidly moving market. I’d love to be proved wrong, but the risk is that they are left always playing catch up. Some serious investment is needed to make this happen I think… IPO anyone?
Check out my latest analysis of Zimbra’s social collaboration offerings.