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Microsoft Welcomes E-Government Strategy

Microsoft Welcomes 'Courageous' E-Government Strategy

Expert Input and Feedback from Users Are Crucial

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Friday, May 4, 2001 - Microsoft New Zealand today commended the Government on its 'courage and ambition' of its E-government Strategy.

Managing Director Geoff Lawrie counseled that it would take an enormous amount of work to implement the infrastructure and change the processes and culture to deliver on the vision.

"It's a positive plan to empower New Zealanders through the Internet," said Lawrie. "A project of this scale offers tremendous opportunities that can only be realised if the IT systems are built to exacting specifications. This requires committed leadership from government and businesses, astute management, and the involvement of the best people and tools the industry can offer," said Lawrie.

Lawrie said that for the E-government Strategy to be successful, government leaders must be prepared to: * Engage with other government to learn from international best practice initiatives. * Involve private sector know-how to help with implementation throughout the project cycle.

Lawrie stressed that an open industry standard, such as XML - an open protocol by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) - is necessary to facilitate the exchange of data between citizens and government.

"A properly implemented E-government Strategy ought to give New Zealanders a clearer, simpler and more effective means of interacting with government. The British Gateway project is a good example, and New Zealand can learn from that."

"Based on XML, the UK Gateway project gives the British Government the ability to leverage existing legacy IT investments, while ensuring that it has the ability to take advantage of emerging technologies to meet the future demand of its users," Lawrie said.

The Gateway Project saw an ambitious e-government vision to bring together disparate IT systems into a central point of access, turn to reality in 15 weeks. It has the capacity to bring 100 percent of government transactions online by 2005, and save an estimated £20 billion (NZ$70 billion).

About Microsoft Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.

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