What a great move by Xobni and Jeff Bonforte. I met Jeff while he was heading up Yahoo Messenger and leading Yahoo’s Voice 3.0 initiatives. Recently, Jeff hinted to me that he was about to take a new role and it appears it will be CEO of Xobni (see sidebar link). This is a great match. I’ve been impressed with Xobni’s strategy to redefine the email inbox and to unlock the value embedded within email. For me, Xobni is a proof-point example of my vision for enterprise communications software. The future state of enterprise software will be on-demand, social, device agnostic, prosumer-driven and voice/visual centric. I have no doubt that Jeff will help take Xobni to the next level.
"Yahoo’s loss is startup Xobni’s gain. On Monday, Jeff Bonforte plans on accepting an offer to become CEO of Xobni, a startup that makes Outlook e-mail smarter. (Disclosure: I’ve known Bonforte for a long time. We once lived in the same house).
As head of social search, Bonforte oversaw Yahoo Answers and Delicious before those businesses were recently absorbed by other groups. His real accomplishment at Yahoo, though, was prior to that, as the VP in charge of Yahoo Messenger!, working for Brad Garlinghouse. Under Bonforte, Yahoo Messenger! surpassed AIM in number of users for the first time, revenues went up sixfold, and he also introduced all those funky avatars to the product. Before Yahoo, he did a stint as president of Michael Robertson’s SipPhone, where he developed the Skype-like Gizmo Project on the sly. And during the go-go 1990s, he founded i-drive, one of the first online storage services (it went belly up—a good idea that was too early). At Xobni, his experience with both Yahoo! Messenger and search should serve him well.