Monday, May 07, 2007

Comcast + open source = pressure for telcos?

I'm embarrassed to say that's it has been a month since I last posted here. I'll definitely try to pick up the pace - things have been busy on multiple fronts. As a partial excuse, some of you have noted that I've been fairly busy posting on GigaOm on various topics.

Back on track, today Zimbra, the open source alternative to Microsoft Exchange, announced a partnership with Comcast - the same folks that led our recent Series B investment.

This latest news makes complete sense to me, as Comcast is interested in using their large fiber and cable infrastructure to deliver integrated voice, video and data products to both the consumer and enterprise markets. While they have a good market position, they need to keep innovating to stay ahead of the telcos, specifically AT&T and Verizon here in the US. Leveraging open source for that innovation, whether for network infrastructure (Vyatta) or the hosted email (Zimbra) gives them better economics and avoids a vendor lock with either Cisco or Microsoft. Better operational costs leads to better customer pricing for their target markets and larger overall market share.

I think Comcast's use of open source to build products and services is a great strategy - it should help keep pressure on the telcos for now.


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