What got Kiwis talking in the NZ Channel market last year…

With the New Zealand channel market a year older, and presumably a year wiser, The Channel looks back at what made the news during the past twelve months.

Starting in January 2013, what got Kiwis talking during the first month of the year?

Seemingly first back to their desks following the holiday season, Microsoft announced worldwide availability of Office 365 Home Premium, a reinvention of the company’s flagship Office product line for consumers.

“Today’s launch of Office 365 Home Premium marks the next big step in Microsoft’s transformation to a devices and services business,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft at the time.

“This is so much more than just another release of Office.”

A little closer to home and it was special software distributor Chillisoft which got the ball rolling in the New Year, revealing further development of the PC Monitor management solution with the addition of a ‘Remote Control’ Plugin for Ninite.

But it was the news coming from Kordia which generated the most attention, with Group CEO Geoff Hunt announcing his intention to leave the company after a “transformational eight years at the helm of the state-owned enterprise.”

As a result of the move, Kordia Solutions New Zealand merged into Kordia New Zealand, creating a substantial business with total annual sales just under $200m.

Scott Bartlett took over the reigns as the new Kordia New Zealand and Peter Robson continued to lead Kordia Solutions Australia.

Following a stuttering end to 2012, Trade Me rival Wheedle promised to relaunch “within weeks” after a number of technical issues which plagued the initial release three months earlier.

“Thank you for all your support, it has been tremendous. We will be back soon,” a message on the company’s problematic website read.

But over a year on and still Kiwis wait…

Telco giant Vodafone experienced problems of their own heading into 2013, with Ricoh New Zealand transferring its mobile connections to Telecom’s ICT services division Gen-i, insisting their was “no comparison.”

There was also no comparison behind the government’s decision to award Cyclone Computers as the main Apple iPad supplier for agencies and schools buying through the All-of-Government (AoG) Desktop and Laptop contract.

And there was good news for Synnex’s Country Manager Richard Harri, who revealed two new hires from competing distributor Ingram Micro, with Evan Jones and Jessice Crane jumping ship.

February saw the introduction of Samsung’s Galaxy SIII Mini to the New Zealand market, an Alicia Keys inspired BlackBerry sales drive and a closer look at the newly released Microsoft Office editions.

Not forgetting the highly publicised departure of Des Ling from Ingram Micro to join Exeed, and a strong month for white hot security distributor WhiteGold and it was speculation of a Renaissance takeover which dominated the headlines.

But with March arriving and no deal yet secure, during the company’s AGM meeting chairman Colin Giffney attempted to reassure shareholders that such discussions could lead to a change in fortunes for the firm.

Sticking to Apple-related news, the tech giant fended off criticism from former Microsoft COO Bob Herfold, who questioned whether Cupertino had lost its vision following the death of Steve Jobs.

Questions regarding the company’s level of innovation were questioned further upon news Google was entering the Smart Watch market, along with South Korean rivals Samsung, who also introduced the Samsung Galaxy S4 to the waiting world.

The month also saw distributor Barracuda Networks publicly commit to its two-tier distribution system, with ANZ Sales Manager Greg Douglas having every faith in the model.

News of an impending $80m sale of Orcon were expected by the close of March yet despite weeks of speculation, Kordia had yet to part company with the internet provider.

Wrapping up the first three months of the year, Ingram Micro struck a storage deal with Actifio, while Redmond was busy allowing users to transfer Office 2013 licences, as well as launching the Surface RT across New Zealand.

This was what made the news in the early part of 2013, check back to The Channel on Wednesday for a closer look at the middle part of the year…

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