In addition to Computerworld's 15th anniversary this month, another company in the IT industry celebrates an anniversary as well. Microsoft New Zealand is 10.
Until 1991 Microsoft’s products were brought into the country by Brimaur, owned by Brian Eardley-Wilmot. The local subsidiary of Microsoft opened for business in November 1991 with four staff under the leadership of the flamboyant Chris Kelliher, a former sales manager at Digital.
It was rumoured that when Microsoft was looking to set up in New Zealand and was hunting for a managing director, Kelliher didn’t make the original short list. But those who had were not entrepreneurial enough in their outlook, and Kelliher, called belatedly to an interview, was able to present a “vision” that fitted the Microsoft mould.
At the end of 1993 Kelliher moved across the Tasman to become managing director of Microsoft Australia.
When Kelliher left, Microsoft went head hunting again and snared BellSouth marketing manager Greg Cross, who went on to oversee the launch of Windows 95.
In 1996 Cross resigned and was replaced by corporate sales and marketing manager Geoff Lawrie, who had been northern region general manager of Unisys before joining Microsoft. Lawrie has been at the helm ever since and seen the company grow from 33 people in 1995 to 100, with most staff growth occurring in the corporate services division.