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Microsoft NZ: Kiwi tech “alive and kicking”

02 May 2014

“This deal speaks volumes for the growing tech talent in New Zealand,” says Frazer Scott, Chief Marketing & Operations Officer, Microsoft New Zealand.

Speaking to Techday with the ink barely dry on Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Kiwi cloud computing start-up GreenButton, Scott was decisive about what such a deal means for the New Zealand ICT industry as a whole.

“It shows that Kiwi tech is alive and kicking," he adds.

Officially announced this morning across the world, Microsoft’s decision to heavily invest in Kiwi talent is the clearest indicator yet that New Zealand not only can, but is, competing on the global stage.

“With GreenButton in particular, Microsoft has seen firsthand a group of highly talented designers,” says Scott, reminding that the GreenButton team will remain in New Zealand following the acquisition.

According to Scott, Microsoft’s Partner Development Manager Curt Smith, who worked closely with GreenButton founder and CEO Scott Houston during the acquisition, was quick to note how impressed he was by the talent on these shores, providing direct feedback to Microsoft New Zealand as a result.

“Everyone Curt has meet in the New Zealand tech space has incredibly impressed him with their skills and ability which says a lot for the industry,” adds Scott, speaking to Techday from Microsoft New Zealand’s Auckland-based headquarters.

“Microsoft has looked very closely at GreenButton and has been delighted with what they’ve saw."

Tyranny of distance…

For a long period of time, New Zealand has suffered a tyranny of distance when trying to compete with the rest of the world, with location often providing a constant barrier to business.

But with this acquisition, coupled with other exciting Kiwi companies making global strides, such geographic constraints are a thing of the past.

“Thanks to high-tech and cloud computing that tyranny of distance has been removed and we’re starting to see signs of New Zealand IT businesses excelling on a global scale,” adds Scott, alluding that the technology industry is New Zealand’s fastest growing sector.

With exports doubling over the past six years and totalling over $7 billion, technology is the country's third largest export earner behind dairy and tourism, impacting on other major market segments while leading the way as the highest per-capita earning industry for the country.

On the domestic front, ICT contributes nearly $20 billion to New Zealand's economy and employs more than 62,000 people, accounting for 73,000 jobs and contribute 5% of GDP.

“Here at Microsoft New Zealand we’re proud of who we are and what we do,” adds Scott, who believes the industry is growing ‘gangbusters.’

“We’re genuinely delighted to see Scott and the GreenButton team go through this process and become part of the Microsoft team.”

A country which first scaled the world’s largest mountain, won the Nobel Prize and stand tall as reigning Rugby World Cup champions, New Zealand once again banishes the notion that size and location matters.

As a nation it may sit thousands of miles away from the global tech hub congregating across the Pacific but the world's market need not wait for Kiwis to join the party, because when it comes to technology, they’ve already arrived…