I noticed “boycott novell” made mention of Bongo today – they mistook our M3 release as the announcement of the project – but nice to see another mention in a new place. I’d like to comment slightly on the Yahoo! situation, though.

The boycott site is quite wrong when it talks of “pulling a Hula”: Hula was never sold because it was competitive to Microsoft Exchange. Anyone who was involved with the project, or used Hula (it’s still available in Ubuntu!), would know that’s not the case. But, unintentionally, there is a point there: the fact is, Microsoft could/would be in a position of owning two groupware systems, which is similar to the position Novell found themselves in (actually, not as bad, because Novell originally had three ;).

If Microsoft do take over Yahoo! (and that doesn’t seem certain to me, yet), they will be in the position of effectively having two products in the same basic market twice over – Exchange and Zimbra, and MSN Mail (or whatever it is – Hotmail?) and Yahoo! Mail. And for the most part, a business selling two products which do the same thing ends up doing not much more than confusing its customers.

My guess: First, Yahoo! Mail will get merged into the Microsoft version, somehow. I’m sure the UIs will be slowly aligned, and then people switched over without realising it.

Zimbra is a tougher call, though. I don’t expect them to kill it. However, I also don’t see them keeping it – if I was to guess, I would say Zimbra would get spun out into a standalone company. I don’t think Microsoft is going to want to piss off a good number of customers, I don’t think it will want to keep Zimbra, and I don’t think those customers want Exchange. So the obvious answer to me is, get rid.

However, in that scenario, it may well end up a bit like Hula – the people involved in the “open source” side of the software may effectively find themselves in a whole new world they didn’t expect themselves to be in. Whenever you have a software project that has a single corporate sponsor (if you will), you are always in that situation, because that type of sponsorship has to be continually justified.

In virtually all ways, this doesn’t affect Bongo: if those people using Zimbra right now have to change (and I’m not at all convinced they’d have to), I’d say they are more likely to jump to Exchange than Bongo. But, I sure feel a lot of compassion for the situation: with two disparate communities (commercial users and open source users, in this case with slightly different products) there is always going to be one side which “loses out” somehow.