Open Source Business Models: OpenXchange Small Business offering

Today Open-Xchange – a company specialized in open source e-mail and collaboration solutions, based in USA with its R&D in Germany – is announcing the availability of Open-Xchange Express Edition, designed to address Small Businesses needs.

Open-Xchange last February invited the small business community to participate in a public beta for the Open-Xchange Express Edition, and entered the hosting market in march, launching the 1u1 Mailxchange service together with 1&1 Internet.

Juergen Geck, Open-Xchange CTO and formerly SUSE CTO at Novell, talking about the the today’s launch told me:

It is a turnkey solution, that turns a baremetal server into a collaboration server based on Ubuntu Linux, running Postfix and Cyrus Imapd. The install image is freely downloadable, fully functional, no restrictions, no timebomb or suchlike, no requirements for Linux background to set it all up.

One CD contains all. We are trying to do for collaboration in SMBs what Ubuntu is trying for Linux.

So I asked Jurgen why should I buy it..

Because of the maintenance and support, plus the “low touch” installation [through an extended Ubuntu Installer] and the outlook installer [a proprietary plug-in].

..and also what about Mobile extensions:

Funambol coming up.

From a Marketing perspective OpenXchange is addressing market needs with two different offer: Open-Xchange 5, a customizable on end, complex, for who needs integration through VARs, and Open-Xchange Express Edition: lock down, turn key, low touch, through Resellers and Distribution channels. Jurgen stated:

Especially in US we had feedback that resellers wanted something easier. OX Express Edition [eval version] is for people who like our service offering, the hosted edition, but shy away from putting their data somewhere offsite.

I eventually asked Jurgen how do they think to protect their business, considering that the competition could put in action predatory practices.

We feel that with 10 years track record of architecting collaboration servers we have the capabilities to stay on top of our technology stack. Besides that consider that more than 50% of the performance are from the user interface [CC attribution, no commercial, share-alike], and we are going to evolve this code base quite a bit over time. We expect to drive evolution and stay in the lead, having a strong commitment to osgi, specifically eclipse equinox, and you will see our server coming up as a collection of osgi services, making it very flexible to customise. Last but not least the hoster infrastructure is normally very diverse, so integration becomes essential. At 1&1 they maintain their own smtpd and imapd, plus all the plumbing for billing and accounting, and the capability to efficiently integrate in such environments is a plus in our offering.

Three interesting points, really. Thank you Jurgen, happy hacking!

About Open-Xchange
Open-Xchange is licensed under the GPL for the software program, and the Creative Commons, Attribution, Noncommercial, ShareAlike for the digital content or Web Access Add-on.

About Open-Xchange Server
Open-Xchange Server delivers Smart Collaboration™ that simplifies everyday life, work and social interactions. It is based on AJAX, open source software and open standards and offers reliable and scalable messaging and advanced groupware solutions. Open-Xchange Server offers email, calendar, contacts, tasks, and knowledge management. Unique features of Open-Xchange Server include: Infostore, a common repository of documents, bookmarks and knowledge entries; Documail, the integration of email and document sharing/version control; Smart Links between all collaboration objects; Smart Privacy, that let’s users define read and write access to all collaboration objects; and Universal Access, the ability to access the server from the widest variety of browsers and clients. Organizations use the Open-Xchange Server’s GUI-based administration module featuring Tiered Entitlement to implement role-based user management.

About Open-Xchange Inc.
Open-Xchange Inc. is based in NY the innovator of scalable and integrated open source email and collaboration solutions for enterprises, academic institutions, and government authorities. Open-Xchange Hosting Edition enables web-hosting companies to provide an easy-to-use and feature-rich application delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS). Internet service providers (ISPs) and hosting providers, led by 1&1 Internet, deliver advanced email and groupware features through Open-Xchange Hosting Edition to millions of users. Open-Xchange Inc. is a privately held company headquartered in Tarrytown, NY, with research, development, and operations in Olpe and Nuremberg, Germany. For more information, please visit

Technorati Tags: Open-Xchange, JurgenGeck, Funambol, Commercial Open Source