Microsoft New Zealand will soon boast a local Web presence, employing the microsoft.co.nz domain it has had reserved since the beginning of the year.
Most New Zealand information will continue to be held on the Microsoft corporate site at http://www.microsoft.com, but the new site will make navigation to that information, and to Microsoft's existing local download site at ICONZ, considerably more convenient for local users.
The "rather US-centric" release of Internet Explorer 3.0, which left New Zealanders locked out of the download party, won't be repeated either, according to Microsoft New Zealand's marketing services manager, Steve Jenkins.
"We were a victim of our own success in that the demand was so much higher than anticipated--there were one million downloads of Explorer 3.0 in the first week of release and 32,000 in the first six hours alone, when we'd planned for 10,000."
The establishment of a local Web shopfront will considerably bolster Microsoft's credibility as an Internet-savvy vendor in the local market, which Jenkins says was a major point in arguing with Microsoft corporate for the ability to use the .nz domain. A Computerworld story pointing out the lack of such a presence was also a factor, he says.
The local page will gradually be used to establish contact with the New Zealand user and developer base, he says, but Microsoft New Zealand will be in no hurry to follow the Australian operation's venture into a fully-fledged site.
"We've spoken to Australia and they're now managing over 100 pages --and they're finding it a real job to keep all their information co-ordinated with the corporate site," says Jenkins. "When you commit to create a Web site like that you want to do something special and have dedicated staff running it, and we're not in a position to do that at the moment."
New Zealanders either not yet wired or not provided with Explorer on signing up to their chosen ISPs will also shortly be able to buy the Explorer 3.0 "fulfillment pack" on CD for less than $20, Jenkins says. The CD is intended as a short-term product and will be offered only until Microsoft's flagship Internet Starter Kit is available.