Dave Stork and Michel De Rooij have published a great join post comparing Zimbra to Microsoft Exchange. It’s in many parts a rebuttal to a post by Christopher Wells, but I think they have covered it pretty fairly.
My take? To be honest I don’t even know why people are bothering to compare Exchange with Zimbra. Before Yahoo bought Zimbra, I thought they might eventually release a competitive product at some point, and they might be the success that Open-Xchange never was.
The reality, in my humble opinion, is that VMware bought Zimbra for the technology not the product. Zimbra’s engine is used in Project Octopus, which fills a gap in the market and actually looks like a product VMware can market to it’s customers. Zimbra.. not so much.
In a way it’s a sad state of the market that Exchange doesn’t have a great competitor that’s taking customers away right left and centre. Why would I say that? Because having a great competitor to Exchange pushes Microsoft to make Exchange better!
If not for Google Apps, we wouldn’t have Office 365 in it’s current form, and I dare say Outlook Web App wouldn’t have pretty themes like Super Sparkle Happy. Zimbra on the other hand has a few nice features; it’s not bad by any means. But it’s not something you’d compare to Exchange 2010 and prefer – either from an end user perspective, or as an Administrator. As an ex-Solaris, Linux and BSD sysadmin as well as VCP 3,4 and 5, that’s something I find a little disappointing.