In the early 1980s, Sean Howard was the editor of the Australian Personal Computer magazine and was running a small electronic mail service called Microtex. In 1992, he sold his share of Computer Publications to ACP and concentrated on Microtex which he renamed OzEmail. At this time, OzEmail (based in St Leonards, NSW) had only 8 staff members and were creating a system to integrate Lotus Software Cc:Mail, MicrosoftMail and Novell MHS Mail systems. The initial network consisted of 16 POPs around Australia.
On 28 May 1996, OzEmail became the first Australian tech stock ever to list on the NASDAQ. With the trading symbol OZEMY, over A$50 million in investment capital was raised. Two years later, OzEmail listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) with the symbol OZM. Also in 1996, OzEmail were unsuccessful respondents in a case involving the creators of Trumpet Winsock regarding intellectual property and trade practices matters . The court found that Mr Howard was "closely involved in all stages of the project".
Through 1997 and 1998, OzEmail grew at a great rate by acquisitions and aggressive growth while competing with some 850 ISPs. On 14 December 1998, WorldCom (later MCI) launched a takeover bid. It was completed on 24 February 1999 when they became 100% owners of OzEmail, removing OzEmail from the NASDAQ and ASX. OzEmail continued its previous strategy of acquiring other companies. Malcolm Turnbull, later a Federal MP, Minister for the Environment and Opposition Leader, was then chairman of OzEmail.
Perth based ISP iiNet purchased the assets of OzEmail on 28 February 2005 and started trading under the new name iiNet (OzEmail) Pty Ltd. The OzEmail brand name is now no longer available. While existing customers have kept their OzEmail usernames, new customers are signed up under the iiNet brand.
In 1995, OzEmail established a New Zealand offshoot, Voyager Internet, and was one of the first Internet providers in the country to go nationwide. Following the WorldCom scandal and its subsequent pulling out of consumer Internet services, by 2002 its customer base had been largely acquired by Telecom New Zealand's Xtra.
- Head, Beverley (14 October 2002). "A decade of life with OzEmail". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
- iiNet confirms talks to acquire OzEmail. The Age, 28 January 2005. Accessed 12 August 2007.
- Down To The Wire
- Computerworld NZ - Alleged fraud at US telco giant
- Voyager.co.nz announcement (archived)
- Paul Budde - WorldCom New Zealand
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