3: 1999 in review - March

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

March 1999

  • Justice minister Tony Ryall considers a draft report from the Ministry of Justice on areas where criminal law may be deficient relating to computers. The report covers issues such as computer fraud and trespass, and law reform necessary for e-commerce.
  • BNZ's credit cards unit and Wellington telco Saturn Communications are the first companies to trial New Zealand Post’s e-billing service. The service will allow banks and billers to offer electronic bill delivery and payment services without having to develop their own system and infrastructure.
  • Wang sets up an enterprise management bureau based on Computer Associate’s Unicenter TNG.
  • The Ministry of Commerce sets 2GHz frequency radio spectrum auction for March 29.
  • Major players such as Intel, Computer Associates, SAP, Hewlett-Packard and IBM announced Linux initiatives.
  • Telecom launches the commercial trial of its DSL fast Internet service.
  • Auckland-based Peace Software secures $20 million in venture capital from US investors InSight Capital Partners and Arete Ventures to support its push into the recently deregulated North American energy market.
  • Visting 3Com chief technology officer John Hart denies 3Com’s sagging stock are an indication of the company’s performance. Hart says although sales for third quarter are expected to fall $US100 million short of Wall St analysts' predictions, $US100 million is only about 1.7% of 3Com’s revenue.
  • KPMG's Aaron Kumove warns against the New Zealand business and government failing to recognise the collapsing of time and distance brought about by electronic networks.
  • Microsoft licenses Kiwi technology from computer telephony company Dialogic to extend Windows NT to the world of network convergence and computer telephony. New Jersey-based Dialogic licenses its New Zealand-developed CT Media server to Microsoft, which will also retain the development services of the Dialogic New Zealand R&D team.
  • WestpacTrust names Wang preferred vendor for its multi-vendor services contract. Unisys was the three year incumbent with a contract said to be worth upwards of $15 million.
  • The Commerce Commission releases a draft report on the telephone numbering agreement stating the benefits to the public are likely to outweigh the competitive detriment and it would authorise the deed.
  • Online payment security protocol SET (secure electronic transaction) receives a blow with the news that Westpac Australia has shifted to the SSL (secure sockets layer) camp. The two-year-old standard is co-owned by Visa and MasterCard.
  • National Westminster Group, one of the largest banks in the world, installs risk management software from Wellington-based company Methodware, which has sites in more than 30 countries.
  • Auckland bus users start using proximity radio frequency (RF) cards to pay their bus fares. Travellers wave their card past a reader which subtracts the cost of the trip from the stored value on the card.
  • An IDC survey New Zealand ERP Customers and Prospects 1999, finds that many companies have no interest in implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
  • Compaq launches its ChannelNet extranet for distributors and resellers. It was developed in conjunction with multimedia developer Terabyte Interactive.
  • The New Zealand Refining Company becomes one of the first companies in New Zealand to use VSAT satellite technology.
  • Iridium restructures the $US800 million credit agreement it has with its banks, having failed to reach subscriber and revenue targets for its first trading quarter.
  • The Ministry of Commerce’s auction of radio frequencies is deferred for three months due to a Waitangi Tribunal report on a Treaty of Waitangi claim. The Tribunal recommends that the Crown begin negotiations with Maori, with a view to reserving a share of the rights to be auctioned.
  • NZ Post becomes a major player in e-commerce by purchasing 50% of Electronic Commerce Network. ECN has also been named preferred supplier at NZ Customs for electronic data interchange (EDI), chipping out the incumbent Telecom and AT&T EasyLink Services.

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