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Linux Magazine’s Top 20 Companies to Watch in 2007

We pick the companies that are defining the future of Information Technology and will have the most impact on the Open Enterprises of 2007. It's the inaugural edition of our 20 Companies to Watch list and we guarantee that every company here will challenge how you think about Linux and Open Source before the year is out.

Zimbra

When Bill Gates grudgingly concedes that a tiny-but-compelling competitor has “done a good job,” it’s time to keep an eye on the company.

Named after a Talking Heads song, Zimbra started life as many a tech-based startup is wont to do, with three pals overworked enough to talk about ditching their day jobs, and young enough to actually do it. The trio came up with open source collaboration and messaging software that is distinctive, the Zimbra founders believe, because existing tools are “fundamentally broken” because they don’t fit well into existing infrastructures, especially those running an array of platforms. By contrast, Zimbra is cross-platform, and has compatibility with Linux and Mac OS X on the server side, Windows, Linux, and Mac on the desktop, as well as Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.

Growth has been strong already, spurred in part by some high-profile recognition like nabbing Best Enterprise Project in the 2006 SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards. In October, the company announced that it has more than four million paid Zimbra mailboxes globally thanks to on-site deployments and a hosted partner program. More than 1,000 enterprises and organizations have deployed the software across a wide swath of industry segments.

The application is also getting a great deal of pickup in the education sector, with more than 50 academic institutions deploying the Zimbra Collaboration Suite. No word yet on whether Zimbra has offered David Byrne a free copy, or if any upcoming releases have code names like “Psycho Killer,” but users can always hope.

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