Posted May 7, 2007 10:30 am by with 1 comment

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Comcast has partnered with Zimbra to provide 12.5 million broadband customers with a sophisticated email service called SmartZone.

At the core of SmartZone is a new version of Zimbra’s open source, browser-based collaborative suite that includes email, instant messaging and voice mail access…Features include listening to voice mail online and video instant messaging.

Are cable networks finally realizing that in order to compete with Google, Yahoo et al, you first have to steal away the “eyeballs”?

It’s a strategy that MSFT, YHOO and GOOG do so well. Launch products that don’t necessarily generate revenue, but give users a reason to come back, time and time again. The best way – discovered by all three – is to create a free service that is at the core of any online activity – email. If a user checks their email using Gmail, it’s just a short mouse-click to capture their search preference, video watching or other online activity.

Comcast is the latest traditional media company to rise to the challenge and start competing for online audience attention. They join Viacom, NBC, Fox and a host of others that are starting to invest in products that are “sticky” – keeping customers within their own network.

While Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are busy duking it out with each other, the foes that they thought to be insignificant – and at one time allies – are gradually mounting their own challenge.

And with more talk of the “Fear of Google“, the timing is perfect for an “anyone but Google” rebellion.

  • *grin* .. It used to be “Fear of IBM”, then “Fear of Microsoft” .. amazing how when a company grows to a certain size it starts becoming “the enemy” …