MANILA, December 16, 2003 (BULLETIN) By Edu H. Lopez - Investments in information technology had slowed down amid the current political and economic uncertainties coupled with the May 2004 elections.

Most companies are on a wait-and-see attitude at the moment until after the elections are over. “Business is very tough at this time as most companies are taking a wait-and-see attitude,” said Edwin Boon, group director for small and medium business of Microsoft Philippines.

“Investments were not as free-flowing compared to 18 months ago,” said Boon as he expects a recovery in IT investments toward the later part of 2004.

Andy Lau, regional general manager of ACA-Pacific Technology Group, an IT marketing company shared the same view with Boon. He noted that the general market for IT products and solutions are down in the region.

Despite the weakness in the market for IT products and solutions, Lau said there are some opportunities for security and storage products.

ACA-Pacific Technology Group, a Singapore-based IT marketing company has tied up with Microsoft Philippines to market Microsoft products and solutions.

The company would be hiring at least 20 local personnel to focus on Microsoft products through its subsidiary, ACA Phils. Inc.

Lau said carrying Microsoft products in the Philippines is a different ball game. However, he is confident the local operations of ACA Philippines would meet its quota and contribute to the company’s revenue.

On the other hand, Boon is also optimistic that the partnership with ACA Phils. could widen the coverage of Microsoft’s network of 1,000 resellers throughout the country.

He expects ACA Phils. could contribute to the increased revenue for Microsoft and reseller coverage in the next six months.

Boon said that ACA Pacific has a good track record in the industry.

“We are positive that ACA Pacific will help us achieve our goal of expanding our coverage in the market and help more people realize their full potential through technology.”

ACA Phils is the third major distributor of Microsoft products in the country. The other two are World Text, Inc. (WSI) and MSI Digiland. The local original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of Microsoft are Lamco International and Millennium Computer Technologies.

“We are pleased to be awarded this distributorship with Microsoft Phils. This is in line with ACA Pacific’s strategies,” said Chan Kok Lim managing director of ACA Pacific Group.

“ACA Pacific believes that the Philippines has a lot of talented IT people with proven learning skills. This makes the Philippines an excellent ground for serious IT development. We will assign 20 people to focus on integrating Microsoft products into our existing products,” said Lim.

ACA Phils. is authorized to distribute Microsoft products such as Microsoft Office 2003, Windows Server 2003, SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and the current products like Windows XP and Microsoft Open Licenses.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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