Zimbra and Indiatimes…email wakes up

Indiatimes Zimbra
Okay neither Indiatimes nor Zimbra can hardly be called startups, but I had to write this, Why? simple its because of the potential of this “togetherness’ But before I get into this extra marital affair, a little info on the new email.

I tried it out, I am a yahoo fan, never moved to gmail, rediffmail or hotmail (as if), in fact I am not really a fan of email anymore, and feel that email for corporates will be dead in a few years( multi project, task list, grouping systems are needed), BUT, whilst we are still alive and using it, we may as well use the best.

A year, or maybe more I came across zimbra, which to me was the best thing to happen to email, since domain names were invented. (If you don’t get the joke, don’t stress it). I registered with Indiatimes, read the press reports, its supposed to be an all singing and all dancing email system, with communities etc, but I was let down. Its actually just vanilla zimbra (a few zimlets specific to Indiatimes).
After getting over my initial disappointment I took another look, I noticed it had a couple of links which allowed you to translate emails, shop, or search for travel without leaving the email. But even then, all my excitement just drained away, Why? because Indiatimes has a platform which does so much more than this, why would you just allow users to do what they can from the website…so it saves them a click of the mouse button ?

To explain my disappointment let me explain to non-Zimbra users about what Zimbra can do. Zimbra has these wonderful little plugins (Zimbra is opensource), called zimlets, these allow users to do things like make skype calls by clicking on a telephone number in an email, they allow you to map the location given in a email. They allow you to track invoices and stock within your company for order processing.

Credit where credits due, Indiatimes new email, does allow you to share calendars, it does allow you to share files, and tag your email, which is great for multi project work, BUT the question I still have, is why are the wow factors not their.

A few suggestions (who am I to suggest :-))

1. Get a zimlet written which can work with routeguru.com, so that when I get an email with an Indian address, I can right click and it shows me the location.

2. Get the asterisk plugin up and running, and let me make a VOIP call from the email

3. Get your users to write their own zimlets, eg into facebook, orkut etc

4. Partner with dimdim and get online web conferencing built in also

and the last one to me is the biggest, Zimbra comes with a plugin into salesforce.com, add that plugin, and sell Zimbra accounts to every SME in India complete with a low cost online CRM system, QED

One more thing, I accept cheques in any currency πŸ™‚

For all those others ISP’s, portals, Zimbra is opensource, you can download and install yourself, and give to your customers. the paid version is a per mailbox offering, but is more network robust (opensource one can be hacked to achieve same thing). But to me the power in Zimbra is NOT the email (that is dead…or will be) but the open platform, and the use of email as a base to upsell other services.

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13 Responses

  1. Hi iqbal,

    I am a part of Indiatimes Messeging and Communities team. These are few very constructive suggestion. Thank you for your comments.

  2. hello Iqbal,

    I am sundar (co-founder and director of of business development at dimdim). just read your blog post and after reading about you (India + entrepreneurship) thought I will leave a comment. Great to see India emerging slowly as a base for entrepreneurship.

    Have you tried out Dimdim? Would you like a demo? Any thoughts on the web meeting space?


  3. @Deepak : Hi thanks from dropping by, hopefully the comments were not too harsh, I think Indiatimes have taken an awesome leap compared to others (email is pretty boring elsewhere), but some zimlets on there would be great

    @Sundar: Would really like to get a demo, especially if you have one hosted these days

  4. How would this CRM thing work, can I use it to manage my sales staff


  5. VSNL are having zimbra also, do not know how live it is.


  6. Cool review and nice suggestions these were some of the best ideas

  7. Hi Iqbal,

    my comment is not related to this post. I just wanted to tell you that it’s been quite some time since you reviewed http://www.linkedzone.com Kindly visit it again and give your feedback

  8. Just heard that Yahoo is buying zimbra for $350 million, if true, then does this mean Indiatimes email is going to be run by Yahoo :-)…Oh what a wicked web we weave


  9. Unbelievable!!! Indiatimes has once again upgraded & guess what, any one with an β€œ-” in their email address has lost the same. Example if you had an email address like jack-ass@indiatimes.com then well this ID & all your message has just vanished. You now cannot create a new ID with a β€œ-” in it. This is less than a year since they last upgraded & 90% of the users lost all their old emails.

  10. Hello. Very interesting Post. Not really what i have searched over Google, but thanks for the information. Can you email me back, please. Awaiting your Answer.

  11. Hello, quick questions. Which email are available to enterprise customers in India in Opensource manner.

  12. Cool review and nice suggestions… πŸ™‚

  13. Cool criticism and beautiful proposals were some of the best ideas

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