Yahoo’s Zimbra enterprise collaboration software division Sept. 30 formally released Zimbra Collaboration Suite 6.0, which borrows features from Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Calendar.
The suite’s e-mail client adds a three-pane view and multiple compose tabs to make it easier to click between e-mail messages and calendar content. The latter feature is one that Yahoo Mail has had for quite some time and Zimbra has adapted it.
Other improvements to ZCS 6.0 include an automatic spell checker, better file and sharing management, customized rules and filters on e-mails, and the ability to sort e-mail messages by size or attach any file from Zimbra Briefcase to e-mail.
Continuing Yahoo’s companywide theme for opening its application platforms to external development, ZCS 6.0 opened up its Zimlets mashup APIs to allow programmers to build applications directly within the collaboration suite.
For example, a new social Zimlet lets users click on a tab to see their Twitter tweets in Zimbra, mimicking the functionality of TweetDeck. In another mashup, BroadSoft has built a VOIP (voice over IP) Zimlet to enable PC calls from the Zimbra suite.
The launch comes amid reports that Yahoo is shopping Zimbra around after failing to integrate its assets with Yahoo Mail. Yahoo bought Zimbra in 2007.
John Robb, vice president of marketing and products at Yahoo, insisted the Zimbra and Yahoo Mail integration continues in earnest, with Zimbra borrowing key features from Yahoo’s existing consumer applications and vice versa.
Robb noted the fact that the latest version of Yahoo Calendar is based on the Zimbra Server. The Yahoo Mail and Zimbra teams have also collaborated on some features.
For example, the Yahoo Mail and Zimbra teams created the “fish-eye view” in Yahoo Calendar that lets users zoom in to a specific day for a better look at a calendar entry. Already part of Yahoo Calendar, this feature has been added to Zimbra’s mail client for ZCS 6.0.
Moreover, Robb said Zimbra’s Zimlet widget model paved the way for third-party applications that Yahoo integrates with Yahoo Mail, including Flickr, Xoopit and PayPal.
ZCS 6.0 also offers role-based delegation at multiple administrator levels, choice of access rights, distribution list management and permission management. Robb showed how Zimbra users can see what rights they have in accessing Zimbra. “Our service provider customers are asking for a lot stronger controls on our admin interface,” Robb explained.
In addition, users of ZCS 6.0’s Zimbra Mobile can benefit from a new ActiveSync remote device wipe tool to protect sensitive information. Zimbra Mobile users can also search the global address list on their mobile device, create and edit contacts and appointments, save searches, and access Zimbra documents and Briefcase through the mobile Web browsers on their smartphones.
Zimbra grew to 50 million paid mailboxes in 100,000 businesses, up from only 40 million paid mailboxes in 60,000 organizations in March 2009, according to Robb.
Fifty million mailboxes is a modest number compared with the 100 million-plus licenses of Microsoft SharePoint, or the 150 million-plus IBM Lotus Notes mailboxes. However, Zimbra’s paid mailbox number is still greater than the number of paid mailboxes of Google Apps or Zoho.
Zimbra is sitting comfortably in the middle of a large collaboration software pack.