Open-Xchange pushes Free Webmail Model

Open-source collaboration software provider Open-Xchange ( has now made its webmail, calendaring and contact infrastructure available for free to qualifying partners, with the stipulation that they have to offer its advanced services.

According to Open-Xchange's Friday announcement, qualifying partners with large numbers of existing email users such as web hosting providers, telcos, ISPs, as well as academic institutions and non-profit organizations can take advantage its fully-maintained webmail module, which includes installation and configuration support of the Open-Xchange software.

"Offering rich email as an alternative to Exchange is a must-have for hosters from a competitive perspective, plus it creates revenue streams and positions hosters to sell complementary services that solidify their relationship with customers," Tier 1 Research ( research analyst Philbert Shih said in a statement. "The collaboration and groupware capabilities that Open-Xchange brings to proprietary email platforms is one way for hosters to introduce mid-market, rich email platforms -- a growing opportunity driven by the growth in web-enabled mobile devices and an increasingly mobile workforce."

Open-Xchange hopes giving away its business-class webmail, it will open itself up to up-selling opportunities. The special offer requires partners to offer customers higher-value Open-Xchange features such as support for mobile devices.

"With our easily scalable open source infrastructure, we are able to offer partners a unique solution for these economically challenging times," Open-Xchange chief executive officer Rafael Laguna. "By adding Open-Xchange, service providers, educational institutions, government and other non-profits get a secure, scalable, cost-effective webmail client for all their users for free -- and can offer an upgrade to mobile device support and fully-featured groupware."

Open-Xchange is an open-source affordable alternative to commercial email and collaboration platforms like Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, providing features like newly expanded mobility support, document sharing, shared calendars and shared address books.

Open-Xchange has been benefiting from recent partnerships with web hosts including one with 1&1 Internet ( that brought Open-Xchange to 1&1's UK customers in September 2009 in the form of 1&1 MailXchange.

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