Who Is Number 1?

A recent Wall Street Journal story included mention that Rackspace is the second largest business email hosting provider. The article failed to mention who is number one. Will the number one provider please stand up?

Bueller? Bueller?

To spare you any more suspense, we expect the leader is Google. Since Google does not provide specifics about its number of paid subscribers, we invite your help.

Rackspace’s most recent disclosure is that we have 1.4 million paid subscribers. In mid-July when Gmail came out of beta, Google said it had 1.75 million companies running Google Apps (including paid and free).

We would like to invite analysts, the media and others to research and confirm who is #1 and ask you to write about the conclusion in this comment section, on twitter with hashtag #num1, and on your own blog. We also ask that Google and others near the one million paid mailbox mark to join the conversation directly.

We know many businesses do use free email services. Nothing wrong with that. However, there is a big difference between business class email and email that is used in a business. If Rackspace is in fact #2, we are very pleased. Of course we want to be #1 in this (and all) category of IT computing services, but since our paid subscriber base has far surpassed the one million paid mailbox milestone without much of any marketing, we are certainly doing something right. Based on feedback from our customers, that “something right” includes our delivery of a business class service, at a price point that delivers cost savings, and is backed by Fanatical Support.

Email has been a stale topic of conversation, but since the era of self hosted email has climaxed, massive market share shift is underway to hosted applications from Google, Rackspace, and others. As the 100s of millions of mailboxes continue moving from servers running Exchange and Lotus Notes in-house, we believe the time is now for this discussion to be kicked up a notch for the benefit of the millions of businesses who need to get rid of their email servers and find a new and better way to do mail. Whether Google is the leader or whether it is any one of our many competitors trying to win and sustain all business email accounts, we want everyone to know that Rackspace believes in this business, are investing heavily, and plan to share some big plans in the coming months.

This is a massive opportunity where several firms will succeed. We at Rackspace are serious about this battle. We thank you for your help in determining who is currently in the lead and for continuing to monitor the battle for long-term leader check back right here at the Rackspace Email & Apps blog from time to time.


  1. I believe Zimbra’s numbers are high due to their deal with Comcast to power all of their customer mailboxes.  I can’t remember the source, but I remember seeing this statement in an article that was written about their 50 million customer marker.
    I suspect that Rackspace is #1 in the email space, but Google will likely not disclose the actual numbers.


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