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.