Zimbra is stepping up its fight for e-mail dominance with a new cloud-based solution for colleges. Zimbra Hosted is set to be revealed for educational institutions this morning. The service will offer Zimbra's entire Collaboration Suite package to schools without the need for any actual on-site hardware or software.
It's a clear tactic for Zimbra to gain more ground in the battle with Google and Microsoft for educational e-mail adoption. The Yahoo-acquired creation already got one big boost when Stanford University, alma mater of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, selected it over Gmail in July. Zimbra now boasts about 400 universities using its product, up from a reported 300 earlier this summer.
The new Zimbra Hosted option -- already offered to some users through third-party Internet service providers -- promises a 99.9 percent "guaranteed uptime" to schools, along with 24/7 support and externally managed upgrades and maintenance. It also includes an iPhone-specific access platform as well as an optional Outlook Sync feature for faculty members. Each school can customize the program's appearance to match its own branding or to add specific campus events into each instance of the Zimbra Calendar. Not surprisingly, Zimbra Hosted integrates seamlessly with the standard Zimbra Desktop client for offline, non-Web-based access.
Zimbra was bought by Yahoo for $350 million last September.