The 40-year Micro Focus story is part history, part legend, part tale.

Sure, as with any good storytelling it might have been embellished a bit here and there, but there's no doubt that it's a chronicle of great success, great challenges, and dogged determination; of breathless chutzpah and calculated risks. And studded throughout the chapters are the colorful characters who give it flair, nuance, and depth. In other words, a very entertaining read.

The Early Years: A Golden Touch


Changing Winds


Resurrection & Growth by Design


Our Bright Future


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In 1977, Micro Focus landed its first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) contract. Dataskil, a software arm of ICL, tasked them with developing a COBOL compiler for an early Singer microcomputer. Compilers—programs that 'translate' source code from one programming language into machine code—were unwieldy and too big for one machine. COBOL played a significant part in the company's rapid expansion during that year and was a major milestone in the road to where we are today.

By mid 1984, Micro Focus had flourished from a private company with a staff of 70 to a public company with 220 employees and a worldwide customer base. And it was just the beginning. We opened offices in Munich and Washington; moved into larger offices in Philadelphia, and expanded our Japanese market. We started our strategy of acquisition with the purchase of Softwright and we launched Professional COBOL.

And as was de rigueur of any hot IT company at the time, the infrastructure and staff payroll included a fleet of chauffeured cars, and a helicopter and two pilots. It was a period of fabled corporate excess and indulgence. And it couldn't last.

It was to be the beginning of some dark days—rather years. In 1989, the company's center of gravity shifted to California and Brian, Paul, and Stewart took turns working from a new office in Palo Alto. Tremors ran through the company and employees were left feeling adrift and abandoned. But the show must go on.

Acquisitions started to come thick and fast in the form of XDB Systems, Stingray Software, Innovative Solutions Inc., Burl, and Creative Systems Interface.

What followed was a series of changing leadership checkered with brilliant and beleaguered alike. These were tricky times for Micro Focus. The longstanding culture of family values and shared passion was extinguished. Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, Micro Focus disappeared from view in February 1999, subsumed into the new corporate identity and rebranded Merant.

Yet, despite its ignoble circumstances and bleak outlook, plans were afoot within Merant to liberate Micro Focus' heritage.

Within four short years, we went to initial public offering (IPO) for the second time, this time as Micro Focus International plc, when Tony Hill, who became CEO after the buyout, and CFO Richard Lloyd, rang the bell at the LSE on behalf of the company.

We continued to expand, investing in Orbix, the world's most widely deployed enterprise CORBA solution. This put Micro Focus products in the business-critical IT systems of three quarters of the world's largest financial institutions. It also put us on the financial IT support map.

Of all the mergers and acquisitions Micro Focus was involved in until that point, it was the 2014 acquisition of The Attachment Group (TAG) that was truly transformational. The TAG acquisition added the Attachmate®, Novell®, NetIQ® and SUSE® brands—and 3,300 people with deep knowledge of their sector—to the Micro Focus stable of market-leading enterprise IT solutions.

In 2016, we acquired Serena®, a pioneer in the processes and technologies that deliver enterprise DevOps solutions. This moved us into another key industry space, and welcomed many people and technologies back into the family from Serena, originally spun out from the dissolution of Merant. The year also saw Stephen Murdoch, who was appointed COO of Micro Focus in 2014, become CEO. At the same time, Nils Brauckmann was appointed CEO of the now highly focused SUSE business. Both joined the board of Micro Focus in February.

A few busy months followed. In September 2016, we announced our intention to merge with software, in a transaction valued at around US$8.8 billion. Subject to standard closing conditions, the deal is expected to close in Q3 2017. Later that month, we also acquired GWAVA, Inc., welcoming a worldwide leader in Enterprise Information Archiving into the family.

What a remarkable journey it's been so far. It's a fast-moving world where, as they say, change is the only constant. Regardless of how they came to be part of the Micro Focus family, all our people and technologies have seen, driven, and lived four decades of change. While on paper our company is about providing innovative technology solutions, it's actually about people.

So, a sincere and heartfelt "thank you" to everyone who has contributed to Micro Focus's remarkable journey so far.