2: 1999 in review - February

A summary of the year's big stories: February 1999

February 1999

  • Formus Communications, the Denver-based company which holds six of the seven lots of 26GHz-28GHz radio spectrum, closes its New Zealand office after failing to obtain broadband spectrum in a government auction in Australia.
  • The Website of Christchurch academic Denis Dutton, Arts & Letters Daily, is named best site in the world for 1998 by Britain's Observer. It beats Amazon, Salon magazine and the New York Times.
  • Telecom, Telstra, Vodafone, Newcall Communications and Teamtalk, which signed the telephone numbering agreement apply to have it authorised by the Commerce Commission to protect themselves from potential legal action over anti-competitive practice.
  • Ericsson announces 11,000 jobcuts worldwide. New Zealand office says its unlikely to be affected.
  • Transit New Zealand chooses UK traffic management company Serco to install signs giving traffic congestion and accident information to drivers for Auckland’s Advanced Traffic Management System.
  • Intel makes its first venture capital investment in Australasia, taking a minority stake in Melbourne document management company 80-20 Software.
  • Wellington-based Actrix Networks, which is12 years old, is bought by one of its employees, Hal King, and Auckland’s AIX (Auckland Internet Exchange) is bought by Compass Communications, a four year old New Zealand owned telecommunications carrier.
  • New Zealand Post obtains a high court injunction restraining Aucklander David Leng from using the domain name nzpost.com. Leng registered the domain name with US domain name registration service Internic Software.
  • The State Services Commission (SSC) revamps its approach to Y2K. The Y2K Project Office is established to better assess government departments’ Y2K projects.
  • Clear completes the first stage of an Internet protocol (IP) backbone trial. The internal trial, which began in December 1998, has two further stages and is scheduled to finish in April.
  • At a time when many organisations are moving to outsourcing, Wellington's Capital Coast Health cancels its five-year contract with EDS because of cost. This follows a November price review.
  • IT Capital, a company for providing technology stock to kiwi investors, lists on the NZSE. Director David Seton says IT Capital will enable kiwis to invest in a range of technology stocks.
  • Computer users are warned to look out for a computer worm, Happy99, that can send hundreds of copies of itself to news groups and email addresses that an affected user is posting or emailing to.
  • Large numbers of PC users around the world plan to return unwanted Microsoft software - as per a clause in the end-user licensing agreements - as part of Windows Refund Day. However fewer than 20 people turn out for Uniforum New Zealand’s event and none has software to return.
  • Telstra says it will launch a secure e-commerce payment service, Surelink, in New Zealand. Surelink allows customers to buy products and services online without having to give credit card details each time.
  • The South African parent of Palmerston North developer and distributor Pastel New Zealand is acquired by fellow South African accounting software company, Softline for $200 million.
  • IT recruitment company Morgan & Banks launches a new specialist IT division, MBT (Morgan & Banks Technology).
  • New Zealand Post ports its in-house postal administration system to Windows NT from OS/2 and sells it to Trinidad and Tobago Post.The software is also used by Fiji Post.
  • More than 150 people attend the inaugural Oracle New Zealand User Group conference in Rotorua. In the past New Zealand users were part of the Australian user group.
  • Telecom chief executive Roderick Deane says he will relinquish the role in September to pursue other interests.

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