Microsoft Introduces AnswerPoint Framework of Support Options

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 27, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. announced today it is segmenting its support offerings into two distinct categories, according to the service level desired by the customer. End users, developers and organizations requiring Standard and Priority technical support from Microsoft will now be served by the newly named Microsoft®
AnswerPoint framework, which includes easy access to technical and support information, no-charge support, and fee-based, round-the-clock support at various levels.

Technical services for enterprise customers will be offered through the company’s new Microsoft Service Advantage, which includes Premier and Premier Global Support, Microsoft Consulting Services and the Global Service Network. (The details of Microsoft Service Advantage are being announced in a separate release.)

AnswerPoint: The Right Answers Right Now

Effective today, Microsoft is renaming, enhancing and expanding its framework of no-charge and fee-based support services for end users, developers and organizations. Customers can choose the AnswerPoint services that provide the best value for their organization. These services may be selected to correspond to the types of products customers use as well as the environment and the purpose they serve. With AnswerPoint, Microsoft continues to provide unlimited, no-charge usability telephone support (toll charges apply) for Microsoft Home products and desktop applications, with the exception of Microsoft Access, which now comes with two no-charge support incidents.

“We’re updating our offerings to reflect what we’ve learned from customers about how they use Microsoft products and what types of support they want, while retaining our generous no-charge support,”
said Deborah Willingham, vice president of support at Microsoft.
“Microsoft makes a major investment in post-sales support for our customers, in easy-to-access online technical information and high-quality one-on-one support delivered by highly qualified support engineers.”

AnswerPoint’s enhancements to Microsoft support offerings include the following:

  • Microsoft AnswerStation, new remote-support software for customers of the Windows®
    95 operating system

  • A new Priority Office Developer support plan, designed to meet the unique support needs of customers developing custom solutions with Microsoft Office applications

  • A new annual Priority Comprehensive account for business customers who do not need the proactive services and technical account management of Premier support

Microsoft AnswerStation: Remote Support Software for Windows 95

AnswerStation is a new information service now available from Microsoft. Microsoft AnswerStation is technical-support software designed to provide remote support links to customers of Windows 95 who also use VoiceView-enabled modems, over which both voice and data can be transmitted via a single analog phone line. Customers who use this software can grant specially equipped Microsoft support engineers permission to remotely diagnose and resolve technical issues on Windows 95. The support engineer will be able to gather data from the customer’s computer to help identify the issue and, if necessary, send data back to resolve the problem. AnswerStation software can be downloaded free of charge from the support area of Microsoft’s World Wide Web site (

AnswerPoint Priority Office Developer

Microsoft also introduced the Priority Office Developer option, available today, to meet the growing demand for development-related support services involving Microsoft Office applications and the emerging requirement for Internet application development. Now, customers calling Microsoft for help developing custom solutions with Microsoft Office applications will be connected directly to support engineers specially trained in providing this assistance. Areas of specialty include Microsoft Access, Visual Basic®
for Applications programming system, integration of application Object Models, OLE Automation, custom setup, Word Basic, calling Windows-standard APIs, and data access using DAO or ODBC. Microsoft Office products include two standard Office Developer incidents at no charge.

AnswerPoint Priority Comprehensive, 75-Incident Account

Microsoft recognizes that not all business customers require the in-depth, proactive support services of a Premier account. To address this need, Microsoft now offers a Priority Comprehensive account with 75 incidents for $9,995 per year. This account provides round-the-clock support on any technical issue across all Microsoft products. The annual 75-incident account also includes the ability to use Microsoft’s Early Assist program for phone support of selected beta products, as well as designated escalation management to obtain additional status or management intervention for previously submitted service requests.

AnswerPoint is the most recent update in the broad range of high-quality technical support options available for Microsoft customers. AnswerPoint also includes pricing updates, such as new, lower-cost support refills for all Priority support accounts. A complete list of AnswerPoint services, including updated price information, is available on the support site of Microsoft’s Web page ( or by calling Microsoft’s support sales and information line at (800) 936-3500. Updates to AnswerPoint apply only to U.S. customers.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) 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, Windows and Visual Basic are registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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