5: 1999 in review - May

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

May 1999

  • Two former Premac Consulting recruiters set up their own IT recruitment consultancy in Auckland, Millennium Management Consultants.
  • Alliance health spokeswoman Phillida Bunkle calls on the parliamentary health select committee to probe the cost and effectiveness of the Shared Medical Systems (SMS) computer system bought by Capital Coast Health.
  • Australian ISDN hardware company Jtec closes office in New Zealand blaming the economic recession, the size of the New Zealand market and tough competition caused by deregulation.
  • The Ministry of Justice begins work on the Crimes Amendment Bill (number six) which aims to fill in the holes in New Zealand law relating to electronic crime.
  • Privacy Commissioner Bruce Slane recommends amendments to the Privacy Act to bring it in line with the European Union’s 1995 Directive on Data Protection. The government says it will consider Slane’s recommendations.
  • Hamilton-based Lloyd Group, which has been offering a DSL service in the Auckland CBD since late 1998, complains to the Commerce Commission alleging Telecom is not providing it with the circuits it needs to supply the service.
  • Treasury’s report on the potential damage Y2K could wreak on the local economy says it will cost the equivalent of $100 for every person in New Zealand.
  • Sky Television says it will take a 30% stake in Auckland ISP Ihug. Ihug announced it was seeking capital to pursue its development plans early this year.
  • Christchurch-based Schaffer and Co, develops an online accounting package on Linux as well as Linux-based network computers.
  • The Chief Electoral Officer, Phil Whelan, shows off a new electronic vote counting system. He says it should be twice as fast as that used in 1996, which choked on MMP returns and left the country waiting until the early hours of Sunday morning for some final results.
  • A PA Consulting salary survey reveals IT workers received higher percentage pay rises than their bosses in 1998.
  • Auckland software house Right Hemisphere develops two plug-ins for the design program Adobe PhotoShop with earning potentials of $8 million in annual export sales.
  • Whitcoulls general manager Stefan Preston resigns to concentrate on the bookstore’s e-commerce endeavours.
  • APEC’s Telecommunications Mutual Recognition Arrangement, allows New Zealand to import telecommunications equipment from, and export to, more markets. The US, Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan sign allowing mutual recognition of tests from each member’s accredited testing laboratories.
  • A group of New Zealand computer manufacturers say they will form an association to lobby government to buy New Zealand-made PCs, and support warranties of members' PCs should a member go out of business.
  • Following in Ihug's footsteps, Telecom starts using satellite bandwidth to supplement its international cables.
  • Marking its first foray into investment, venture capital firm IT Capital announces it is taking a 35% stake in Auckland e-commerce startup exo-net.
  • IT minister Maurice Williamson visits the United Kingdom, at the cost of the British government, to talk about the knowledge economy.
  • The price of computer systems based on Unix and RISC processors begins dropping, thanks to increased volume manufacturing.
  • SAP and Baan announce plans for fixed-price enterprise resource planning.
  • Adelaide-based Kleenheat Gas places a $3 million ERP order with Auckland-based utilities and finance software company Sanderson Computers.
  • Advantage Group buys oil industry software firm PEC Retail Solutions for $15 million.
  • Niwa (National Institute of Water and Atmospherics) buys a multi-million dollar Silicon Graphics/Cray T3E supercomputer.
  • Three New Zealand ISPs begin charging on a flat rate basis - around $40 per month.
  • IT Capital lists on the Australian Stock Exchange.
  • New Zealand’s Wel Technology forms a joint venture company with Canadian organisations, Municipal Electricity Association (MEA) of Ontario and ProSon Utility Solutions, to supply retail settlement systems to Ontario power companies.
  • Software developer Technology Design takes legal action against Aoraki over an abandoned contract between Aoraki and Contact Energy. Technology Design was sub-contracted to develop and support a Jade billing and call centre solution, but Contact cancelled the project when it bought United Energy and consolidated its billing and call centres.
  • Iridium receives another extension from its lenders and is given until June 30 to meet customer and revenue targets.
  • Auckland gets its own Internet exchange which saves traffic between Auckland ISPs from being routed via the New Zealand Gate exchange at Waikato University.
  • Japanese electronics giant NEC begins rebadging voicemail and call centre suites by Auckland software house GDC Communications to sell with NEC PABXes in Australia.
  • National Business Review pulls the plug on its Internet site after two and a half years.

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