2000 revisited

With the trials and tribulations of Y2K compliance behind them, companies were free to look at new IT projects this year. For many that meant some form of e-commerce - from putting up a website to transacting over the internet.

With the trials and tribulations of Y2K compliance behind them, companies were free to look at new IT projects this year. For many that meant some form of e-commerce – from putting up a website to transacting over the internet.

E-procurement, whereby businesses buy goods and services over the net, began ramping up in New Zealand with several new products entering the market. The new government also had effect on the telecommunications and IT landscape with a telecommunications inquiry and new legislation in the areas of e-commerce and electronic crime.


January 1, 2000 dawns without disaster, although some IT staff remain on call for a few days, just in case. All the hard work of the preceding 12 months has paid off and, apart from minor glitches, IT systems around the world tick over as if nothing has happened.

This enrages the general media who accuse the IT industry of overhyping the issue. Rather than celebrating the fact that the country escaped with little more than minor irritations, it seems they had been hoping for a full-scale catastrophe after all.

The newly appointed government embarks on its e-government plans – putting out a tender for the State Services Commission's secure government intranet.

E-tailer Flying Pig joins travel.co.nz to offer online travel schedule information and reservations.

Auckland-based venture capital firm IT Capital buys 18% of Virtual Spectator – an internet sports channel created by Auckland’s Terabyte Interactive and Dunedin-based Animated Research to deliver live animated action from the Louis Vuitton Cup.

ASB Bank launches ASB Securities, its online stock broking service. The bank also expands its online banking service Fastnet to include corporate level customers.

Jim O’Neill is appointed as executive director of ITANZ, replacing Tony Tait who retired after eight years in the role.

Kimbal Riley leaves Compaq professional services to become managing director of CSC.


Eagle Technology launches its web-based B2B procurement system, which links customers with distributors.

Ebanz, the electronic business special interest group of telecomms user group TUANZ, launches under the leadership of Simpson Grierson partner Mark Jefferies. A survey of launch attendees reveals that most perceive New Zealand as being well behind other countries in adoption of e-commerce.

Vodafone and Contact Energy admit to problems with their billing systems over the Christmas/New Year period, but deny it has anything to do with Y2K.

ISP Ihug prepares for a public float, setting up a trust to handle an employee share scheme and saying percentages would be sorted when it went public.

IBM New Zealand loses $29 million for 1999 – making its accumulated losses over the four years 1996 to 1999 $100 million.

Christchurch start-up company Eforce launches an online buying portal and announces that Guy Cook, the vice-president of US carrier Qwest, has joined its board.

The police decide to drop IBM’s OS/2 operating system and replace it with Microsoft Windows NT on more than 360 servers.

TVNZ ends a digital TV trial with Kuwaiti-based satellite communications company ZakNet, saying all interactive plans are on hold until new broadcasting minister Marian Hobbs has defined its charter.

Domainz chief executive Patrick O’Brien files papers in the Palmerston North District Court alleging that Alan Brown, director of Manawatu Service Provider, defamed him in a posting to the ISCONZ mailing list.

Lucent wins the contract to provide Telecom’s CDMA (code division multiple access) mobile phone network.

Telecom, Microsoft and EDS launch esolutions – an alliance aimed at renting applications and other services.


The stock exchange launches the New Capital Market exchange saying it will give IT start-ups quick access to capital.

Compaq opens a data outsourcing division at its Christchurch applications development centre.

TVNZ launches nzoom.com, a website providing news and other information.

An application service provider (ASP) consortium of Datacom, Microsoft and Tenuteq offers a 90-day trial of customer management software Pivotal.

Wellington-based web developer CyberElves opens offices in Auckland, London, Hong Kong and Sydney.

Thin client software vendor Citrix opens an office in New Zealand under the direction of ex-CA head Andrew Cashmore.

Denver-based LMDS (local multipoint distribution service) equipment maker Formus Communications sells its 26GHz radio spectrum to Clear Communications. Formus bought the spectrum at a government auction in 1998. Clear plans to use it to deliver broadband wireless services such voice and high speed data.

IT Minister Paul Swain returns to work after illness saying he wants to expedite the Electronic Transactions Bill, plans to hold an e-commerce summit, publish a guide to e-commerce for small and medium-sized business, and develop a strategy to make government agencies more accessible.

Advantage Group buys Auckland software developer Aldridge Punter in a stock-only deal.

Eagle Technology launches an ASP service offering project management software for professional services organisations.

3Com says it's getting out of the large enterprise networking market to concentrate on small and medium-sized businesses, home users and service providers.


US District Court judge Thomas Penfold Jackson rules in favour of the US Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft. This triggers the Nasdaq's plunge to historic lows.

Christchurch-based EstarOnline, the owner of the e-tailer CDStar, cancels its public share offer because of the shaky state of the world's technology stocks. The falling Nasdaq and the likewise performance of Kiwi tech shares prompts EstarOnline to withdraw its submission to list even though it had raised the $10 million it had been seeking.

Credit management company Baycorp takes control of New Zealand’s only certification authority 128i.

Eforce acquires supply chain management specialist Product Sourcing International (PSI) and web development and hosting company Imagic.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs comes out with a proposed code of consumer for consumer protection in e-commerce.

Corel chief executive Michael Cowpland visits New Zealand and launches Word Perfect 2000 for Linux at the Computerworld Expo.

Woolworths' online shopping site starts taking credit card payments.

Wang launches its web portal, my.Business, adding project management and service management to the e-procurement services it has been offering since December 1999.

Auckland reseller and communications integrator GDC Communications lisrs on the stock exchange through a float that is oversubscribed at a factor of four to one.

Clear Communications launches zfree, a free internet service provider.

eVentures, an internet investment company that is 64% owned by epartners (a joint venture between internet investor Softbank and epartners, which is owned by News Corporation), 16% owned by former Sky Network TV chief Craig Heatley, and 6% by corporate investors - Telecom, The Warehouse Group and Todd Capital - offers the remaining shareholding in a public share float. The company says it will launch up to 50 e-commerce companies in New Zealand over the next three years.


AMP Private Capital and Caltech Capital invest $5 million in Wellington-based internet application developers Netlogic Group.

Market analysts and recruitment consultants claim the newly introduced Employment Relations Bill may kill the independent contractor market and fuel the exodus of skilled workers from New Zealand.

GSB announces SuppyNet, a trading hub jointly owned by GSB Supply (50%), Qixel Capital Group (30%) and Advantage Group. The launch caps off 14 months' work by GSB - the former Government Supply Stores Board - which began negotiations with e-commerce software provider one year before.

Sausage Software founder Steve Outtrim speaks to would-be entrepreneurs at the IT Investment Forum in Auckland.

Unisys launches its ASP service.


New Zealand Post buys a share of the Infolink Group, a workflow software company, for $1.8 million.

The government releases the draft report on its inquiry into telecommunications.

The Direct Marketing Association creates an e-marketing council to bring together the e-marketing industry to exchange ideas and increase knowledge.

Geac New Zealand makes 40 people redundant from its product development business.

Westpac links up with US e-business provider Intelisys to develop and operate e-procurement and marketplace services here and in Australia.

Wang rebrands as gen-i and calls itself an internet integrator.

Flying Pig cuts 20 staff.


Maori take out an injunction to stop the radio spectrum auction.

US company Election.com sets up an office in New Zealand to offer internet voting.

Seafood supplier Sanford joins the global electronic marketplace Seafood Alliance.

Vodafone starts testing GPRS (general packet radio service) on its network. GPRS will mean customers are connected to the internet all the time and offers five to 10 times the current transfer rates for cellular.

Newly formed Infinity Group takes over Trilogy, Quanta Systems and Madison Group.

New Zealand Post issues a request for information for the IT component of the "people’s bank".

IRD ditches ir-File, the electronic filing system developed by EDS.

Air New Zealand joins a worldwide B2B exchange with other airlines in the Star Alliance group.

Microsoft announces its .Net strategy, a blueprint for moving the company’s products towards providing services over the internet.

Nokia’s inaugural WAP awards attracts 21 entries.


Novell lays off 16% of its staff worldwide although no New Zealand staff are affected.

Investment company Savoy Equities founds wireless development company eSavoy. ESavoy owns E-Zebra and IPFinity.

Bill Gates flies into Australia and holds a press conference which is slavishly attended by all despite the fact that he as usual says nothing new.

The low Kiwi dollar starts to bite, causing IT prices to rise across all industry sectors.

The government issues a request for proposal for its secure interdepartmental email project, See.


Microsoft introduces licensing to allow ASPs to rent out its software. Five local companies sign up.

Cisco finishes implementation of a show-case voice over IP (VoIP) system at the Ministry of Social Policy.

Wool-trading online exchange Woolnet considers selling up to 40% of the organisation.

Microsoft buys 25% of erstwhile competitor Corel.

Industry analysts around the world predict that up to 80% of B2B exchanges will fail.

Networking company Allied Telesyn opens an expanded R&D centre in Christchurch saying it will increase staff from 100 to 250 in the next year.

Government announces proposed changes to how R&D is taxed, mooting that all development expenditure will be deductible and research expenditure until a saleable product is created.

Auckland Institute of Technology holds its election of student officials online but only 1000 of 15,000 eligible students vote.


The Southern Cross fibre optic cable linking New Zealand to Australia and North America goes live.

TUANZ holds a summit as a follow-up to the government’s telecomms inquiry.

ISP Ihug says it will lay off up to 60 staff.

The government holds a three-day e-commerce summit in Auckland, aimed particularly at small and medium-sized businesses.

Auckland medical and scientific supplies company Biolab Scientific says it is building a $10 million online marketplace.

Police completes its migration of servers on its network from IBM’s OS/2 to Microsoft Windows NT.

Wilson & Horton Interactive, which publishes the NZ Herald Online, makes one third of its staff redundant and scales back e-commerce plans.

Intel releases the Pentium 4.


ASB Bank’s former head of IT, Garry Fissenden, takes up position as managing director of online marketplace SupplyNet.

New Zealand gets its second public certification authority when PricewaterhouseCoopers’ beTRUSTed unit sets up shop.

Domainz reveals that it has handed over information on New Zealand domain name holders to the IRD.

A KPMG-lead consortium is chosen to help implement Trade NZ’s $13.2 million e-commerce project.

Air NZ embarks on an 18-month global e-procurement project.

Eagle Technology head Trevor Eagle dies.

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