The Story of MicroBiz
MicroBiz was founded in 1985 and was a pioneer in computerized point of sales systems. MicroBiz Business Controller (as MicroBiz for Windows was called in the days before Bill Gates created Windows OS) was one of the first full featured computerized POS systems that could be customized for different retail verticals. The company’s early success was a result of great technology, a zealous reseller network, carpet bomb-mailing of POS catalogs and a ubiquitous koala bear mascot.
In 2000 MicroBiz was sold to CAM Commerce (NASDAQ: CADA), a large POS software vendor. MicroBiz might have continued to chug along as part of CAM Commerce if it weren’t for a series of coincidences in the Fall of 2011.
The catalyst for the new MicroBiz occurred at the Innovate Conference in San Francisco sponsored by eBay/Magento. Kevin Kogler, President of CAM Commerce at the time, was there looking for alternatives to a legacy ecommerce shopping cart product sold by CAM Commerce. During one of the keynote presentations at Innovate, the folks from Magento showed a fancy video about a local San Francisco Bay area soccer store that was able to build a really cool Magento ecommerce site in just a couple days using Magento. Magento even brought the soccer store owner on stage in front of 1K+ attendees to personally showcase their new Magento site. There was lots of applause and back slapping.
Coincidently, it turned out that this soccer store was just down the street from Kevin's house and was where he shopped for soccer gear for his kids. So, a couple weeks later when Kevin stopped by to pick up shin pads for his daughter, he noticed that the store was using a legacy POS system totally disconnected from its new Magento ecommerce site. As a result, the store owner had to double enter transactions and had no visibility into the inventory between his ecommerce and store operations. The owner was constantly getting web orders for products that were no longer in stock at the store. This caused bad online reviews that hurt his reputation on line and in his store.
Kevin stood there holding the shin pads and thought, wow (sound of light bulb going off above his head), what an opportunity! Here was a soccer store almost literally in eBay’s back yard and highlighted by Magento in front of thousands of partners and developers with all sorts of work flow issues. And if this store had these issues, how many of the other of the 120,000 stores running Magento worldwide also had these same issues? And how many retail stores with no on-line presence would benefit from a web-based POS system deeply integrated with Magento? And what about stores running other open source shopping platforms not integrated with POS?
So, “new” MicroBiz was started. In fact, Kevin was so excited about the idea he forgot to pay for the shin pads (just kidding). But, he did like the idea so much that he sold off the legacy software business of CAM Commerce and used MicroBiz to form the foundation of a new company focused developing an easy-to-use, open standards web-based POS system that plugs seamlessly into Magento. Several other key employees working at CAM Commerce (including the former CTO of CAM) also saw the opportunity and believed in the same vision. Thus, the next chapter of MicroBiz began.