Microsoft Narrows Skills Gap Through Online Delivery, Marketing Benefits, Competitive Courseware Pricing for Training Channel

DENVER, June 7, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced enhancements to its worldwide Authorized Technical Education Center (ATEC) program aimed at supporting the Microsoft® training channel’s ability to reach more students and increase the number of trained professionals in the computing industry. More than 41,000 technical jobs are open in the Microsoft Solution Provider (MSP) channel alone, with 190,000 IT jobs vacant across the United States, according to the Information Technology Association of America. MSPs attribute the unfilled positions to a lack of qualified, trained applicants. Microsoft plans to increase its support to assist ATECs in training more students entering the IT profession by providing an innovative Web-based training program as well as significantly reduced curriculum courseware as well as cash reimbursements.

“As the need for trained IT professionals continues to grow, we are always looking for ways to help our training channel meet this need and extend their business model to be more successful,” said Nancy Lewis, general manager of worldwide training and certification at Microsoft, at the Information Technology Training Association (ITTA) show. “By providing ATECs with an innovative online training program option, as well as reducing their operating costs, Microsoft aims to reach and train more students to enter the computing industry work force.”

ATECs Reach More Students With Innovative Online Training Program

Beginning in October 1997, the Microsoft Online Institute (MOLI), a Web-based training program for students who need a flexible self-paced training solution, will be integrated into the ATEC program. With this integration of Web-based training and traditional classroom instruction, Microsoft’s industry-leading training delivery channel will reach a broader base of students worldwide – students whose needs are best met with easy-to-access, flexible online courses at the desktop. ATECs will be able to manage their own Web-based training infrastructure, as well as select curriculum appropriate for Web delivery from a variety of sources including Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) and Microsoft Approved Study Guides.

“Microsoft recognizes that the education market is moving rapidly in a new direction – the Internet,” said Marsha Kabakov, group manager, training channel strategy and development at Microsoft. “Microsoft plans to continue to invest in the online learning model by creating high-quality content and developing new technologies that enable us to deliver best-of-breed online learning solutions to students.”

“We’re excited about Microsoft’s shift in strategy to allow us to host online training on our own servers,” said Richard Knudson, president of the Information Management Group (IMG), a leading Microsoft online training provider. “This will give us more control, more customization and more branding possibilities.”

Reduced Courseware Costs Extend ATECs’ Reach

Microsoft is reducing the cost of courseware for its training channel by an average of
28 percent for class packs and 25 percent for trainer packs. Price reductions apply to Microsoft Official Curriculum courseware for operating systems and the BackOffice
™family of products. Beginning July 1, 1997, ATECs will be able to get popular courses such as Supporting Microsoft Windows NT® 4.0 – Core Technologies and Supporting Windows® 95 at significantly reduced prices. The high volume of training delivered by the ATECs makes this price reduction possible.

Microsoft Invests in the ATEC Channel With Rebate Benefits

Qualified North American ATECs that receive quarterly cash rebates for their courseware purchased have flexibility in how they can apply their reimbursements, such as through advertising and marketing efforts to recruit more students, investment in Web technology, sales incentives for employees, or other business infrastructure enhancements such as capital equipment and computer hardware.

TeKnowlogy, a Dallas-based ATEC, will receive over $110,000 in rebates this quarter. “This definitely offsets our marketing costs each quarter,” said Mary Beth King, director of marketing for TeKnowlogy. “The new Market Opportunities Rewards program provides us greater flexibility and creativity than before. We now do a wider variety of marketing activities, including telemarketing, online advertising and incorporating Microsoft Press® materials into promotions.”

Microsoft’s training channel trains more than 1 million IT professionals and 2 million business professionals per year on Microsoft technology. Certification training is offered through instructor-led classes at more than 1,330 Microsoft ATECs worldwide, as well as through self-study and online methods. Microsoft has awarded certifications to 125,000 individuals since the Microsoft Certified Professional Program’s inception in 1992.

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

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors : If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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