The $350 million that Yahoo paid for Zimbra represents less than 1% of the offer price Microsoft has made for all of Yahoo.
From a purely financial perspective, Microsoft could easily elect to stop development of Zimbra if it so chose, as one way to try to protect its flagship Exchange product.
Open Source users of Zimbra have some good protection against this possibility: the license. Open source Zimbra users could continue to use and develop Zimbra for as long as they like, even if Microsoft fired every Zimbra employee the day the acquisition closed.
Network Edition customers unfortunately have less protection. The Connectors, backup routines and other non-GPL code bits we get to use only so long as we have an NE license.
I would therefore like to make two suggestions to Zimbra/Yahoo management, please:
1. Please consider depositing the non-GPL Zimbra code in a kind of source code escrow. In the event of an acquisition (by Microsoft or any other party) where the acquiring party either stops or starves development of Zimbra below some appropriate level, the non-GPL code is automatically released under the GPL.
This first suggestion is intended to mirror an individual's bequest to a charity. Upon the individual's death, the charity receives the bequest.
2. Please also consider extending the expiration of all NE licenses to at least 24 months from today, and make the NE licenses cancelable by Microsoft/Yahoo only in the event of non-payment or other breach by the customer of the contract terms now in force between Zimbra/Yahoo and its NE customers.
This second suggestion is intended to give NE customers at least a two-year window in which to migrate to a different platform, should they so desire.
Thank you Zimbra for considering these suggestions.
With best regards,