Yahoo! has a number of different Open Source efforts and initiatives under its umbrella. One of the biggest is Zimbra, which Yahoo acquired for $350 million last year. Zimbra is also a direct competitor to Microsoft Exchange (and Outlook).
Zimbra this week officially released ZCS 5.0 which is the latest edition of their AJAX email/calendaring/collaboration suite.
Whether or not Microsoft buys Yahoo! or not, Zimbra users need not necessarily worry. The reason for that is very very simple – it’s the Open Source promise.
If Microsoft were to somehow dissolve the Zimbra unit after acquiring Yahoo, the existing community could try and fork Zimbra and maintain it on their own.
I use the word ‘maintain’ very specifically in this context. While Zimbra’s community is certainly a strong point, I suspect that is it the core Zimbra team with Zimbra staffers that continue to do most (if not all) of the key development. As such if a project fork were to emerge for it to evolve, the fork would really need the efforts of some of those Zimbra staffers.
Sure they could just leave the new Microsoft’ owned Yahoo, but somehow I suspect that there could be legal implications. That said, the Open Source promise is that you’re never locked in. So while there could be some impact from a Microsoft takeover – Zimbra users really don’t have too worry all that much.