Dimdim's Integration with Zimbra Could Be a Prelude to a Purchase

In a union of open-source messaging and collaboration startups, Dimdim and Zimbra are set to announce an integration that would pair Zimbra's e-mail software with Dimdim's Web conferencing application. The deal comes as the market for unified communications and collaboration enterprise applications is red hot.

Zimbra, the open-source messaging and collaboration suite Yahoo purchased in September 2007, plans to announce an integration deal with open-source Web conferencing startup Dimdim, according to a source with knowledge of the companies' plans.
The move, set to be announced in the next week or two, is preceded by Dimdim's revelation Oct. 21 that Zimbra co-founder and CEO Satish Dharmaraj has made a personal investment in Dimdim and has joined the startup's advisory board. Can you guess where this is going? I smell a purchase in the near future.
Details are scant, but it seems Dimdim and Zimbra will pair Dimdim's Web conferencing application with Zimbra's e-mail application.
Zimbra, which offers e-mail, instant messaging, calendaring, VOIP (voice over IP) and other tools, wants to become a full-bodied UCC (unified communications and collaboration) platform. But to better compete with IBM, Microsoft and Cisco Systems in the multibillion-dollar UCC market, Zimbra needs a Web conferencing application.

Read about IBM's move in UCC here.

Dimdim, which like Zimbra, is delivered via the Web browser, looks ever the part and provides another tool to let users communicate without having to meet in person. This is a boon at a time when the economy is forcing companies to shrink travel budgets.

"I believe that Dimdim real-time collaboration capabilities complement Zimbra's asynchronous capabilities to deliver on the vision of unified collaboration," Dharmaraj said in a press statement Oct. 21 about the funding.
Dimdim lets as many as 20 corporate workers share their desktop; show documents and slides; collaborate; and handle instant messaging, VOIP and video broadcasts through a Web browser.

Dimdim, available in both on-premises and hosted flavors, also offers Pro and Enterprise versions that support 100 and 1,000-plus users for $99 and $1,998, respectively.
The integration will be an appetizer to ensure that Dimdim suits Zimbra's palate. I'd expect an acquisition to follow in the next several months if all goes well.
Zimbra parent Yahoo, which saw a 64 percent profit plunge from the year-ago quarter and vowed to lay off 10 percent of its work force, struggles to stay afloat in the recession.

Zimbra would seem to be one of those juicy assets that would make its parent company attractive to prospective buyers.