Microsoft Expands Technical Support Offerings

REDMOND, Wash., May 12, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced an enhancement of the company’s online support offerings and Priority support contracts in the United States. All customers, from end users and developers to small and midsized organizations using Standard or Priority technical support from Microsoft, now have more no-charge online services available to them as well as several new Web-based self-help tools. Priority customers also have access to several new proactive support services. These changes are aimed at making it easier for customers to use Microsoft® products successfully in a variety of settings, from the home to business-critical corporate environments.

Priority Support Offers Business-Critical Services

Priority Plus, a new annual support plan, strengthens Microsoft’s support for small and medium-sized organizations running products from the Microsoft BackOffice
family in business-critical environments. Features include highest-priority queue; Priority Plus Service Desk, which contains information designed to help with proactive architecture and planning; special incident handling options, such as Early Assist phone support for selected beta products; and a designated account administration team to help with Priority Plus account issues and other support services.

“We’ve designed Priority Plus to enable smaller organizations to get the higher level of support they need,” said Linda Glenicki, general manager of the technical support division at Microsoft. “Small to midsized companies that have invested in Microsoft products will find that Priority support offers them business-critical, 24-by-seven support to keep their systems running and their business productive.”

In addition, the new Priority Plus Service Desk offers secure Web-based access to an exclusive area for Priority Plus customers. The Service Desk, designed expressly for small to midsized corporate customers, will offer support and product information for planning, building and managing an organization’s systems based on Microsoft products. “This information is key for IT professionals,” Glenicki said. “It will include proactive information companies need for advance planning for smoother, more stable product deployments and to avoid problems before they occur.”

New Online Support Resources:

Microsoft has also announced additions to its online support offerings available to all customers, making the Microsoft Web site one of the most comprehensive sources of Web-based support information currently available. Customers can now submit support requests for all Microsoft products, including unlimited no-charge support for all desktop applications and consumer titles, via a form on the World Wide Web (connect-time charges may apply). Requests are routed to technical specialists who respond to requests within one business day. Customers can also sign in and check the status of their support requests via a secure area on the Web site.

In addition, Microsoft launched the Download Wizard, which allows customers to easily compare files in Microsoft’s comprehensive software library with those on their own computer, and then choose from a recommended list of file updates for batch downloading. This includes free software add-ons, bug fixes, peripheral drivers, software updates, sample code, patches, application notes, sample files and programming aids.

Microsoft also unveiled more than a dozen additional troubleshooting wizards that aid customers in diagnosing and solving specific technical problems. Unlike other flat or tree-based problem-solving tools, troubleshooting wizards have probabilities – derived from tracking thousands of customer interactions – assigned to sets of symptoms. As more customers use the troubleshooters, the probabilities are updated and adjusted accordingly. This makes solving problems simpler and faster because the most probable issues are addressed first.

“Depending upon the customer’s exact situation, the troubleshooting wizards first ask smart questions that can broadly eliminate problems, and then ask the next most likely questions to isolate the problem,” said Glenicki. “It’s what we call the electronic version of our award-winning engineers because their expertise and experience drives the content.”

Microsoft also offers auto-diagnostic technology in some of the troubleshooting wizards that make problem diagnosis very simple. Diagnostic tools, such as those in the multimedia setup troubleshooter, run hardware and software diagnostic tests to get to the root of a customer problem quickly.

In addition to powerful troubleshooting wizards, the Microsoft support site offers other robust self-help tools including the same Microsoft Knowledge Base used by Microsoft Support Engineers, a Software Library of downloadable support files, answers to the most frequently asked questions, and access to hundreds of technical discussions via Internet newsgroups.

Microsoft is expanding its online support offerings in response to the incredible rise in customer use of the Internet for support. This dramatic shift in customer support patterns for Microsoft is evident in the triple-digit growth the company has seen on its Web site in just the past nine months. The number of customers visiting the support area of the Microsoft Web site has quadrupled to approximately 45,000 visits per day.

For a comprehensive list of Microsoft’s online support services, visit

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 business of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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

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