Zimbra

Dan Farber writes about “a new open source project and collaboration suite from Zimbra offers good insight into Web 2.0 and where ‘desktop’ applications are heading. ”

Zimbra’s desktop and wireless clients uses standard protocols like IMAP, POP, MAPI and iCal, and interfaces with common clients (via a migration wizard) such as Outlook, Apple Mail and Eudora. The zero-footprint client (no download) runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac using Firefox and IE. A screen shot gallery is here, and the company has a flash and hosted demos.

The AJAXed interface and design decisions make e-mail and calendaring much less clunky compared to other e-mail clients. For example, information, such as calendar, tracking numbers, CRM data, map info (see below) and real-time inventory counts, can be accessed with messages via a rollover. Skype is also integrated into the clientroll over name, get the phone number and call. These “mash-ups” that surface external information in a meassge, and the fact that it is a Web client that has the richness of a desktop client, is a good barometer for what’s to come from any software developer on the face of the planet.

Mobile Third Screen

David Beisel writes about a recent announcement by Motorola ot offer push services on the mobile phone:

[The] 1×1 display has until recently been overlooked as a vehicle for information communication. Always with you and referenced perhaps dozens of times per day, it carries a lot of possibilities with it. Right now my own background screen is terribly boring calendar. Updated news and weather information would be a great replacement, if only just a first step to more personalized content.

For me, this development is interesting from both a consumer standpoint and VC one. How will the ads be displayed in a manner so as to not become too intrusive? Unlike a PC browser where ads and content can be displayed simultaneously, the physical space for advertising in conjunction with content is limited. How will ads proliferate in a manner not to propagate attention theft? It seems all too easy to annoy people if all they want to do is make a call or quickly check a piece of info. From a VC vantage, I am excited about the potential for infrastructure companies to spring up supporting this advertising medium, like mobile ad networks or ad insertion providers.

Google, Search and Microsoft

Joe Wilcox writes:

I believe that Google wants to provide the means of getting to the information and create its own kind of lock-in over time, just as IBM and Microsoft did in their day. Right now, Google’s hold is tenuous. There is little “sticky” about search. Customers can change search engines by typing in a new Web address. But as Google releases more technologies for creating, storing and accessing information, the company’s products and services grow stickier. How sticky they will eventually become will depend on a number of factors, including Google’s execution and the response of companies like Microsoft.

Additionally, I also believe Google is engaging in some misdirection, clearly aimed at Microsoft. I believe the Google folks are smart enough to recognize that when Microsoft fixates on a competitor the corporate personality becomes obsession. There is no question that Microsoft is obsessed with Google and its products. So, Google can lead Microsoft all over the place, with the software giant chasing the search/information company like a dog being led after a bone. Google can’t be everywhere, even if information might seem to be everywhere. But the company can appear to be interested in everything and cause Microsoft to waste resources, be distracted chasing Google, while the rival executes brilliantly where the Redmond folks aren’t looking.