Cemaphore attracted attention in 2008 for proposing to provide smooth data migration between Microsoft's Exchange server and Google Apps, a scrappy upstart compared to Microsoft in the messaging market.
Microsoft is the overwhelming leader in the e-mail messaging and server software marketplace, with its Outlook e-mail client and Exchange e-mail server gobbling 90 percent-plus of the worldwide market. Outlook lives on users' desktops, but it is supported on the back end by Exchange server software.
But some companies are looking to break from Microsoft's on-premises model and bring their e-mail into the cloud. In cloud computing, users access an e-mail application, such as Google's Gmail, from Web browsers on their computers.
Google hosts the data created in Gmail on its servers, and is actively looking to move users from Outlook and Exchange to Gmail, the cornerstone app in the Google Apps suite.
E-mail is the central repository of most knowledge workers' professional communications, so if Google can move Microsoft customers to Gmail, it could lead these enterprise users to adopt other applications in the Google Apps portfolio.
Cemaphore was one possible option to help with this, and Cemaphore co-founder and CEO Tyrone Pike all but put a "for sale" sign on Cemaphore, talking openly about possible acquirers for Cemaphore.
In March 2008, Pike told eWEEK that Cemaphore's brand of reliable e-mail synchronization software is valuable enough that Microsoft, EMC and Google could all be interested if the conditions are right. Pike even reasoned that Google might be the most likely suitor for his company, which is based in San Mateo, Calif.
However, Google this year made it clear it was going its own path to getting Microsoft Exchange customers. In June, Google launched the Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook synchronization tool to let users access their Google Apps e-mail, contacts and calendar through Outlook.