Like a pinball, Zimbra bounces again, now to Telligent from VMware

VMware had bought Zimbra in 2010 from Yahoo

Telligent has acquired Zimbra from VMware in order to give its enterprise social networking suite an enterprise email and calendaring component.

For Zimbra, it's the second time it's been sold since 2010, when VMware acquired it from Yahoo. Zimbra was an independent company when Yahoo bought it in 2007 for $350 million.

The deal is the latest move by VMware to divest itself of enterprise collaboration products. VMware, a virtualization specialist that several years ago started building a collaboration suite via acquisitions, sold one of those pieces, SlideRocket, to ClearSide in March.

VMware had acquired SlideRocket, a cloud application designed to let users post and share slide presentations, in 2011.

VMware also bought enterprise social-networking provider Socialcast, and has said it is developing a cloud file-sharing product now called Horizon Suite.

In its statement Monday, Telligent said that once the deal closes, the merged company will be called Zimbra, which will be positioned as a provider of a "unified collaboration suite."

The new Zimbra will receive investments from Intel Capital, NXT Capital Venture Finance, BDCA, Hall Financial Group and VMware, Telligent said.

With this move, Telligent is taking an interesting tack on its enterprise collaboration strategy, opting to add an email and calendaring component that other enterprise social networking providers don't have.

In this manner, Telligent becomes a more direct competitor to bigger communication and collaboration vendors like Microsoft, IBM and Google.

VMware didn't immediately respond to a request for comment regarding its future plans, but in the statement its COO Carl Eschenbach said VMware is focusing on the "software-defined data center, hybrid cloud and end-user computing opportunities" and that it will provide a "smooth transition" for Zimbra customers and partners.

Meanwhile, Telligent CEO Patrick Brandt said in the statement that the new Zimbra will be able to offer both traditional collaboration capabilities like email and calendaring, along with enterprise social networking functionality and real-time communication tools like chat.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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