Microsoft Exchange vs Zimbra
Last updated: October 12, 2019
Microsoft Exchange Server is the server side of a client–server, collaborative application product developed by Microsoft. Exchange's major features consist of electronic mail, calendaring, contacts and tasks; support for mobile and web-based access to information; and support for data storage.
Zimbra Collaboration Server is an email and calendar server plus much more; think about it like a next-generation Microsoft Exchange server. In addition to email and calendar, it provides file sharing, tasks, contacts, social media, document management and simplified administrative controls all in an award winning webmail user interface built with the latest AJAX web technology. ZCS also provides mobility and syncs to desktop client applications; the server is deployed on commodity Linux and Mac server hardware.
Microsoft Exchange vs Zimbra in our news:
2019 - Email collaboration software Zimbra added own document editors
Zimbra Network Edition now features integrated feature-rich office productivity suite - Zimbra Docs. It's free and you don't need MS Office license. You can now create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations right in Zimbra. Zimbra Docs supports the most popular document formats (xls, doc, and ppt and more). The apps are called: Zimbra Writer (document editor), Zimbra Calc (spreadsheets), Zimbra Impress (presentations) and Zimbra Briefcase (for converting and sharing files). The heart of the service is Zimbra Docs server that must be installed on one or more dedicated nodes running RHEL 7 / CentOS 7, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, or Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Besides own built-in office, Zimbra features LibreOffice integration, that is also free.
2018 - Microsoft released Exchange 2019, but no way to deploy it
Microsoft has released a new version of its e-mail and collaboration server Exchange 2019. And companies can already download the update, but there is one problem - there is no way to install it. Because it works only on the server operating system Windows Server 2019 which hasn't been released yet. As for the innovations in Exchange 2019, they mainly improve system performance. The new version can use up to 48 processor cores and 256GB of RAM and is optimized for SSD-drives. In general, it is obvious (and the company does not hide this) that Microsoft is developing Exchange with a focus only on large and very large companies. And they want to transfer all small and medium businesses to the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365, which provides the email server as a service.
2015 - Synacor acquired Zimbra
The open-source based email and messaging software provider Zimbra has been acquired by Synacor for $24.5 million. Synacor calls itself the multiscreen technology and monetization partner for video, internet and communications providers, device manufacturers and enterprises. Synacor officials said they will continue the open source version of Zimbra and provide technical support for Zimbra's Open Source Edition (OSE) through its VAR partners. Zimbra has already been acquired by Telligent, VMWare and Yahoo. The buy follows the news earlier this week that Verint acquired Telligent (Zimbra Social) from Zimbra.
2010 - Google Apps making Microsoft nervous
Recently, Google released the next anti-microsoft tool - Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Exchange, the plugin which allows you to easily move mail, calendars and contacts from Exchange to Google Apps. Last year they released the utility that syncs Outlook with Google Apps, but now you can import data directly from the Exchange server. Previously, Microsoft just ignored such events, or commented that Google Apps - is just a toy that no serious company will use. But Google's constant pressure is making them nervous. Microsoft recently launched the channel on Youtube, which contains videos explaining why MS Office products are better than Google's. For example, here's the video Exchange vs GMail:
But Microsoft did not take into account the fact that Google updates its services faster than they create videos. Therefore, some features such as remote data wipe, the office reservation issue, clipboard, offline file access in Google Docs - were already implemented in Google Apps. Other issues can be implemented in the near future. As a result, this marketing campaign only shows that Microsoft is really afraid of Google Apps.
2010 - VMware buying Zimbra from Yahoo to win over Kerio Connect
What this deal means? For Yahoo - it's the end of the Enterprise game. The company will focuse on its consumer portal and will not interfere with its new strategical partner - Microsoft (because Zimbra - is MS Exchange competitor). For VMWare - this is another huge step to the elite of Cloud Computing market. WMWare is the largest developer of virtualization systems, that are used in public and private cloud platforms. In addition, the company has recently bought Springsource to create its own web platform - an alternative to Google App Engine. The most popular open-source collaboration suite Zimbra will let VMWare to enter the Web-applications market. There’s no word on the sale price yet, but it's probably lower than the $350 million paid by Yahoo in 2006.
2009 - Exchange 2010 - unified messaging in the Cloud to compete with Oracle Beehive
Microsoft officially released the new version of its enterprise email server Exchange Server 2010. It's desktop client Outlook 2010 will appear only next year together with other Office 2010 applications. What is the most interesting about Exchange 2010? First, thanks to Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 (details here), and some new features in the new version, Exchange 2010 is now completely adopted for the cloud deployment. Of course, Hosted Exchange 2007 has been already provided for some years, but the latest version is much more secure, reliable and suitable for administration, when installed on the remote server (or in data-center).
Second, the Exchange web client (Outlook Web Access) was fully revamped. BTW it's now called Outlook Web App. We already mentioned about its new GMail-like features, but the most interesting that it's positioned now not just as email client, but as unified messaging client. It can support not just emails, but also sms, IM messages and voicemail (if Office Communications Server 2007 R2 is installed). Outlook Web App optimized for all browsers (except Chrome) and works on mobile devices.
Other important updates include enhanced spam protection (beta users report of fantastic 70% spam reduction in Inbox), inbuilt email archiving system and enhanced database. Exchange 2010 works only on 64-bit platforms. Together with Exchange 2010, its security infrastructure Forefront Protection 2010 has been released.
2009 - Yahoo released Zimbra Desktop 1.0
Email and collaboration client, Zimbra Desktop 1.0, has shaken off its beta and now is available as a free download. Zimbra differentiates itself from Outlook
and Gmail by providing both an online and offline email experience. It also sees itself as a central in-box for all your e-mail,
contacts, and calendar information, as it enables to access
Yahoo and Gmail contacts, calendars, and messages in Zimbra, plus POP
or IMAP e-mail from AOL, Hotmail, or your office. Syncing to some of the
third-party e-mail and calendar services within Zimbra Desktop appear
to remain beta features, like Hotmail, and Yahoo and Google calendars.
While the support for these last two has been expanded in this release,
a Zimbra representative told us, "officially those integrations are
still considered 'beta' since they rely on APIs not maintained by the
2008 - Zimbra Heads To The Cloud For Academic Institutions
the collaborative webmail and calendar company that was acquired by
Yahoo in 2007, has launched a new product for academic institutions
called Zimbra Hosted that will allow schools to run their webmail
portals from the “cloud”. Previously schools would have to run Zimbra’s
service onsite or through third party hosting companies; now Zimbra
will also give them the hassle-free option of letting Zimbra and Yahoo
maintain the servers.
Zimbra currently serves over 400 academic institutions. Earlier this
year the company scored a major win over Google and Microsoft Exchange
(which also offer a suite of competing services) when it was chosen by Stanford as its Email/Calendar management system for students. At the time, we
noted that Zimbra was especially strong for its mobile support as well
as enterprise-level features.
2008 - Yahoo Updates Calendar: Leverages Zimbra Technology
Yahoo today announced a closed beta
of a major update to its online calendaring application that will
feature a tighter integration with Yahoo Mail and other Yahoo
properties. The new calendar is based on the Zimbra platform, which Yahoo acquired in 2007, and will support both the iCalendar and CalDAV standards for exchanging information with other calendaring services.
Among the new features are the ability to enhance your calendar with photos from Flickr,
a built-in to-do list, and support for drag and drop. Yahoo Calendar
can now also send out reminders for important events by email, IM, or
Yahoo is now making it easier for groups to keep track of common
activities by extending the sharing features in Yahoo Calendar.
Yahoo will roll this new functionality out slowly, starting as a
closed beta in the U.S., Brazil, India, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
Over time, Yahoo will roll the new calendar out to all Yahoo Mail users.
According to Yahoo's data, only about 8 million out of its 280
million Yahoo mail customers use Yahoo's Calendar now. As John Kremer,
Yahoo's VP for Yahoo Mail, told us today, this was one of the main
reasons why Yahoo started redesigning the calendar. John also told us
that he thought now was the right time to reevaluate the calendar, as
users are starting to become more comfortable with online calendaring
and calendar sharing. Also, the widespread adoption of open standards
like iCal and CalDAV is making it easier for different services to
provide interoperability and is driving the adoption of online
Until now, Yahoo did not integrate the Yahoo Calendar well with
Yahoo Mail. While Google Mail has far fewer users than Yahoo Mail, its
users are far more likely to also use the Google Calendar, thanks to,
in no small part, the straightforward integration between the two.
Cleaner, Easier to Use Interface
new interface for Yahoo Calendar is a lot cleaner than the old one and
integrates a number of features from Zimbra's calendar, including the
ability to zoom in and out from a specific date.
The integration with Flickr is still in its early stages. Right now,
the calendar will only display a limited set of Flickr's recently
highlighted photos, but over time, Yahoo will allow you to choose your
In this new beta, Yahoo also now allows you to layer different
calendars and gives you very granular controls for sharing these. You
can also very easily subscribe to other calendars. Yahoo will also make
it very easy to integrate calendar information from other Yahoo
properties, including Yahoo TV and Sports.
the next version of this beta, Yahoo will also integrate a number of
social features into the calendar, including data from Upcoming.org. It
also looks like Yahoo is planning another overhaul of the site's design
to incorporate these features.
Yahoo Taking the Lead for Mainstream Adoption of Calendaring Standards
Other online calendars like Google Calendar or 30 Boxes
already offer a lot of this functionality, but Yahoo Calendar has a far
wider mainstream adoption than any other calendar. It's good to see
that Yahoo is taking the lead here and is planning to roll this beta
out publicly around Q1 of 2009, as Yahoo can lead the market towards
greater adoption of these open standards and online calendaring in
2008 - Yahoo Gives IMAP Access to All Users Through Zimbra Desktop
Just last week, we wrote about rumors that Google would be bringing offline access to Gmail and Google
Calendar using Gears very soon. Today, Yahoo announced that it will be
giving offline access to all free and paid Yahoo Mail users through the Yahoo Zimbra Desktop.
This is the first time that all Yahoo users get offline access to their
accounts. Zimbra Desktop is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
IMAP for All
Until now, only users with paid Yahoo Plus accounts had POP access
to their email. Now, all Yahoo users will get offline access to their
accounts through the Zimbra Desktop via the arguably superior IMAP
Yahoo bought the email and messaging company Zimbra for $350 million in September
2007, soon after Zimbra had launched its offline capabilities. The
Zimbra Desktop runs on top of Prism, a Mozilla Labs product, which, just like Gears, is meant to allow users offline access to their web applications.
Besides working with Yahoo mail, Zimbra also supports all other IMAP
and POP capable accounts, as well as, of course, accounts hosted on a
Zimbra server. Zimbra has predefined settings for Gmail, AOL, and Yahoo
After one alpha and two beta releases under Yahoo, Zimbra is still
calling this new version a beta, but given that fact that they are
releasing it to all Yahoo users, the company must feel pretty good
about the stability of the application. In our tests, we did not
experience any crashes or other problems with the Windows and Linux
client, though we did not test the Mac version.
The Zimbra Blog
also lists a large number of other updates and new features to the
application, including built-in notifications, minimize to tray on
Windows, showing the number of new mails in the tray, and a few other
One thing that is still sorely missing though (or at least we
couldn't find it), is syncing calendars, tasks, files, contacts, etc.
Yahoo is surely planning to do this in a future release, but right now,
this does reduce the usefulness of the Zimbra Desktop quite a bit.
Why Zimbra Only?
The big news, however, is definitely that all Yahoo users now have
offline access to their email accounts. Of course, cynics might point
out that all Yahoo would have to do is flip one switch and all its
users could just use any email client they wanted for offline access.
Those same cynics might point out that Yahoo is mostly doing this to
justify the $300 million investment in Zimbra. However, at least
Yahoo's users now have one option to get offline access to their