Microsoft Announces Solution Provider Specialist Initiatives

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 26, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the first in a series of Microsoft®
Solution Provider Specialist initiatives. The initiatives enhance Microsoft’s existing global Solution Provider program, helping Microsoft’s more than 11,000 channel partners to expand their businesses more quickly around the fastest-growing market opportunities in the computing industry: the Internet, electronic messaging, 32-bit desktops and host systems connectivity.

These initiatives represent the industry’s first comprehensive business-development program for channel partners. They provide Solution Provider Specialist organizations exclusive incremental benefits, including access to resources, technical assistance and marketing support. The Microsoft Solution Provider Specialist initiatives being announced today allow Solution Provider organizations to achieve one or more of the following designations: Microsoft Solution Provider Internet Specialist, Microsoft Solution Provider Exchange Specialist, Microsoft Solution Provider 32-Bit Desktop Specialist and Microsoft Solution Provider SNA Server Specialist.

“We’ve anticipated the market’s tremendous demand for products and services in these rapidly expanding markets,”
said John Neilson, vice president of the organizational customer unit at Microsoft.
“Pursuing these opportunities together with our Solution Provider partners is the core to our strategy.”

Professional services generated by customer demand for the Microsoft Internet Information Server are projected to total $150 million in 1996 and are expected to climb by more than 76 percent per year to $1.4 billion in 2000, according to International Data Corp. (IDC). Similarly, IDC also projects that sales of Microsoft Exchange Server will climb 54 percent per year – twice as fast as the electronic mail market overall. The research firm says the annual Solution Provider opportunity for installing, tuning and developing applications and migrating new users to Microsoft Exchange Server will grow to more than $1.7 billion by 2000. In the area of LAN-to-SNA integration, revenues are expected to grow from $943.3 million in 1994 to $2.7 billion in 1999, according to IDC.

“The exciting growth in the Solution Provider program since its creation proves its value and success,”
said Paul Bazley, director of the Microsoft Solution Provider program.
“We’re significantly raising the bar for the quality of channel-development programs with the introduction of the Solution Provider Specialist initiatives by focusing on specific ways to fuel growth and profit for our Solution Providers.”

The Windows NT
™
operating system has shown very strong sales and growth in the channel overall, with Solution Providers reaping the biggest benefits from this growth. According to a survey of reseller organizations conducted this month by The Gilmore Research Group, copies of Windows NT Server licensed through Solution Providers over the past six months increased an average of 64 percent, compared to a 22 percent growth rate of licenses of
Windows NT Server by non-Solution Provider organizations. Growth of service revenues showed a similar trend. Solution Providers realized significantly higher sales growth of services related to Windows NT Server, with an average 58 percent growth rate in this category vs. a 16 percent growth rate for non-Solution Provider organizations.

“Microsoft’s investment in its Solution Provider program has translated into real benefits for US Connect,”
said Brad Winney, chief operating officer of US Connect Inc., a Microsoft Solution Provider Partner.
“In fact, it is safe to say that Microsoft’s Solution Provider program has become one of the primary generators of new business for US Connect for the past two years. That is a trend that we expect to see accelerate in 1996,”
said Winney, whose firm provides networking integration and application-development services from 53 office locations in the United States and Canada.

Microsoft Plans Specialist Initiatives in Cooperation With Solution Providers

Solution Provider organizations with Microsoft Certified Professionals on staff may participate in the Solution Provider Specialist initiatives. Flexible training options are available, including classroom training at Authorized Technical Education Centers (ATECs) and the Microsoft Online Institute (MOLI).

The Solution Provider Specialist initiatives include a Business Development Kit with software and extensive documentation, and self-study technical and sales materials. Exclusive business-development opportunities available to Solution Provider Specialist organizations include participation with Microsoft in demand-generation seminars and sales training programs, plus additional service support calls to help ensure high-quality customer pilot programs.

“Microsoft really understands the level of teamwork that we need in the channel to make technology solutions work for the clients,”
said Kevin Nikkhoo, president and CEO of Vertex Systems Inc., a technology consulting firm and a Microsoft Solution Provider Partner. Nikkhoo is also one of 35 independent representatives on the Solution Provider Advisory Council, which helped shape the new offerings.
“The market is changing so quickly that old models of partnership are no longer sufficient to meet the needs of our clients. Microsoft asked us what new support models and tools would help us build our business. We told them that in order to better serve our clients, we needed a special program to emphasize expertise in particular areas, and the Solution Provider Specialist initiatives show that they listened.”

Microsoft Solution Providers are independent organizations working in conjunction with Microsoft Corp. and include a wide range of companies and individuals such as systems integration and installation experts, VARs, developers, consultants, and technical support and training organizations. These organizations add value to their customers by offering a full range of services, such as vertical and horizontal solutions, line-of-business applications, and client-server implementation and systems integration, including multivendor expertise and training.

Businesses in North America can request information about the Microsoft Solution Provider program or can enroll by calling (800) SOL-PROV (765-7768). In other countries, businesses should contact their local Microsoft subsidiary.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft home page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass. To receive Microsoft press releases by fax, please call (800) 859-5915 in the United States or (201) 333-0314 internationally.

Members of the Microsoft Solution Provider Advisory Council

Members of the Microsoft Solution Provider Advisory Council represent some of the premier companies in the channel. Microsoft Solution Provider Advisory Council members provide direct input into shaping Microsoft channel program initiatives, such as the Solution Provider Specialist initiative described in the accompanying news release. This year’s council members are listed below:

Advanced Paradigms Inc., Alexandria, Va.

Anjura Technology Corp., Ottowa, Ontario

Born Information Services Group, Wayzata, Minn.

California Computer Options, Oakland, Calif.

Creative Business Concepts Inc., Irvine, Calif.

Database Server Systems Inc., San Mateo, Calif.

DataLan, White Plains, N.Y.

Daugherty Systems, St. Louis, Mo.

Empower, Overland Park, Kan.

Excell Data Corp., Bellevue, Wash.

Hilton Computer Strategies, Houston, Texas

IAR Training and Consulting, Newark, Del.

Innerset US Connect, Troy, Mich.

Integra Technology International Inc., Newark, Del.

Integrated Computer Management, Roseland, N.J.

International Automation Associates, Torrance, Calif.

Kizan Technologies Inc., Louisville, Ky.

Lan Systems Inc., San Diego, Calif.

Medici Systems Inc., Dallas, Texas

Merisel Americas Inc., Argyle, Texas

New Technology Partners Inc., Bedford, N.H.

Parian Development, Chicago, Ill.

Raymond James Consulting, Denver, Colo.

Science and Engineering Associates Inc., Albuquerque, N.M.

Sierra Systems Consultants Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia

SRA Corp., Arlington, Va.

Stellcom Technologies Inc., San Diego, Calif.

The Computer Group, Inc./fUS Connect, Columbia, S.C.

The Waldec Group, Tampa, Fla.

Valinor Inc., Waltham, Mass.

Vertex Systems Inc., Los Angeles, Calif.

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