Early Training Initiative Paves Way for More Than 11,000

LAS VEGAS, April 2, 1996 — Today at NetWorld + Interop ’96, Microsoft Corp. announced that thousands of distributors, resellers and Solution Providers worldwide are ready to provide service and support for Microsoft®
Exchange Server.

Since July 1995, more than 1,000 independent Microsoft Solution Provider companies have been trained on Microsoft Exchange Server. Today, more than 200 Authorized Training and Education Centers (ATECs) offer Microsoft Exchange training and certification.

“We have never done more – or started earlier – to prepare the channel with training and education for a major product launch,”
said John Neilson, vice president of the organizational customer unit at Microsoft.
“As a result, customers will have value-added services for Microsoft Exchange from day one. In addition, channel companies will have all the tools they need to take advantage of the enormous market opportunity that Microsoft Exchange and related professional services represent.”

“Microsoft Exchange Server entering the groupware market will provide many opportunities for Microsoft Solution Providers and independent software vendors to assist customers in creating customized business solutions,”
said Ian Campbell, director of collaborative technologies at International Data Corp.
“These companies can expect their sales opportunities to increase by taking advantage of the solid foundation and rich development environment provided by Microsoft Exchange Server.”

Training and Tools Available for Small, Medium-Sized and Large Resellers

The Microsoft Solution Provider Exchange Specialist initiative is the industry’s first comprehensive business development program for channel companies. It is one of four Solution Provider Specialist initiatives – along with programs focusing on the Internet, 32-bit desktops and host-systems connectivity – that Microsoft offers to its more than 11,000 Solution Provider companies. The Microsoft Solution Provider Exchange Specialist initiative offers participants exclusive benefits, including access to resources, technical assistance and marketing support. Microsoft Exchange Specialists receive a business development kit with product software, documentation and discounts on ATEC training.

Also available to independent value-added resellers are Microsoft Exchange Reseller Action Packs, which give small and medium-sized resellers a quick and cost-effective way to prepare for Microsoft Exchange. The Action Pack includes self-paced training materials and discounted software so resellers can save time and money as they gain expertise in Microsoft Exchange. The Microsoft Exchange Reseller Action Pack is available through distributors.

“Microsoft Exchange provides a world-class platform for global messaging and information-sharing solutions,”
said Link Simpson, president of Software Spectrum Technology Services Group.
“We have invested early in getting our consulting organization up to speed to help our customers develop, deploy and maintain solutions around Microsoft Exchange. We already have Microsoft Exchange in production in more than 10 consulting offices across North America and have implemented the Microsoft Exchange Services Guide into our service offerings.”

The Microsoft Exchange Service Guide is a customizable step-by-step guide that provides Microsoft Solution Provider Specialists with the process and tools they need to provide their customers the best possible service.

Microsoft Solution Providers are independent organizations working with Microsoft that include a wide range of companies and individuals, such as system integrators and installation experts, VARs, developers, consultants and technical support and training organizations. These Solution Providers add value by offering their customers 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
) 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 is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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