Zimbra Email LogoNow that Microsoft has ended its pursuit of Yahoo!, a lot of folks are analyzing the big picture at both companies. Yada, yada, yada. But instead of focusing on the forest, The VAR Guy would prefer to focus on one tiny tree: Zimbra, the open source email platform that Yahoo owns, can now breathe a little easier.

Alas, under Microsoft's potential ownership, Zimbra would likely have suffocated and died. Plenty of Zimbra fans expressed their fears about Microsoft to The VAR Guy.

And for good reason. Zimbra is a wildly popular open source email platform. Plus, it's cross-platform and it even has a loyal following within Mac OS X Server communities -- particularly university IT departments.

Sure, Microsoft has come around a bit to open source. And the Microsoft-Novell alliance has won praise from selected enterprises that want to run Windows and Linux side by side.

But let's be clear: Microsoft's bid to acquire Yahoo (which Microsoft withdrew on May 3) targeted online advertising. Zimbra, which Yahoo acquired in September 2007, would have been chewed to pieces as Microsoft digested Yahoo.

So good luck Microsoft, as you seek alternative efforts to compete with Google. And good luck Yahoo, as you try to explain to investors how you let Microsoft walk away from the negotiating table. But most of all, good luck Zimbra. You escaped a terrible fate now that the Microsoft-Yahoo discussions appear done. Don't squander this new lease on life.