Microsoft Stands Behind Certification as Key Indicator of Quality

ORLANDO, Fla., May 3, 1997 — At Fusion ’97, the exclusive conference for Microsoft® Solution Providers (MSPs), Microsoft Corp. capped a year of increased emphasis on the value of certification as a key indicator of quality by officially announcing a new logo for the company’s certification and channel programs – Microsoft Certified. The new logo will be displayed as a common brand for individuals who are Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) and the Microsoft Solution Provider organizations that employ them.

The logo change will be effective fall 1997, viewed in phase two of Microsoft’s recently launched $8 million broad-based advertising campaign, focusing on the quality, technical proficiency and real-world experience of the individuals and companies in the Microsoft channel. When the logo is officially released in the fall, nearly 13,000 MSP organizations and 118,000 MCPs will begin displaying the new logo worldwide on marketing and advertising materials.

“From the start of the MCP program, we’ve focused on rigorous certification as the way we ensure that individuals with this designation can perform their jobs at a very high level,” said Sam Jadallah, vice president, organization customer unit at Microsoft. “Customers tell us that the MCP certification helps them know that their IT employees and service providers are skilled and capable. With this branding change, we hope to broaden this awareness among business decision-makers and IT professionals about the quality, technical knowledge and experience of Microsoft Solution Providers and the Microsoft Certified Professionals they employ.”

“Adding ‘certification’ to the Microsoft Solution Provider title emphasizes the value Microsoft and its Solution Providers place on certification,” said Greg Frankenfield, managing director and partner, Logicon Technologies Inc. “For my business to be as successful as it is, we must have certified individuals on staff. Placing ‘certified’ in the Solution Provider name emphasizes that MSPs are meeting the necessary skills level to service their customers.”

During the past year, the total number of MCPs has nearly doubled each year, to a total of 118,000 worldwide. Studies show that professionals with the two most valued certifications, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) are more productive and competent on the job. One independent study of the MCSD certification found that these professionals are rated 25 percent more efficient and productive than their noncertified counterparts in the areas most important to their employers. Those interested in the results can view them .

“The universal feedback from our business customers is that they want service consultants who are highly skilled in technology and products and also have a proven track record in developing complete solutions,” said Tom Hartocollis, director of marketing communications, organization customer unit at Microsoft. “Phase one of the channel-branding campaign will focus on case studies that demonstrate the level of experience MSPs have. Phase two, launching this fall, will feature the new Microsoft Certified logo, illustrating the quality of MCPs, individuals predominately employed by MSP organizations.”

Phase one of the channel-branding campaign, which began April 28, 1997, focuses on Microsoft Solution Providers’ proven experience in developing both infrastructure and application solutions for customers. The campaign is expected to generate more than 12 million impressions through ads in IT publications and high-traffic Web sites. Business decision-makers and technical professionals will see examples of leading end-to-end business solutions developed by Microsoft Solution Providers, demonstrating the value of these organizations.

“One of our key objectives is building awareness of the benefits of our channel dependent service model – an approach that relies completely on our channel to provide services for our enabling technologies,” Jadallah said. “The channel-branding campaign and the new logo address that challenge by showing customers that the best Microsoft solutions are created by the individuals and organizations that carry the Microsoft Certified brand.”

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.

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