After long negotiations, Comcast has contracted with San Mateo based Zimbra to offer its customers email, instant messaging and voicemail in one tidy online dashboard. The deal will add considerably to Zimbra’s six million paid email accounts.
Zimbra’s Collaboration Suite is an increasingly popular messaging and collaboration suite. With Ajax-based web collaboration at heart, Zimbra’s features — in its growing suite of offerings — include email, contacts, calendar, VoIP and document management. Comcast is planning to build on the Zimbra platform by adding extension points for visual voicemail and an integrated address book. HP has also been involved in integrating the two services, and has successfully tested the scalability of the MySQL implementation needed to meet Comcast’s demands. The new service, dubbed the Smartzone communications center, will also include an address book thanks to another Valley-based startup Plaxo.
This is a large deal for both Zimbra and Plaxo, considering the fact that Comcast currently has over 12 million high-speed internet customers and that Comcast.net consistently stays in the top 10 of all websites in the US. This is also another instance of a large company embracing Web 2.0 — and making it public to their very mainstream userbase. One thing I love about all this is the fact that Comcast didn’t try to reinvent the wheel but used a couple already well-placed players in the market — not something you hear everyday from such a company.