Microsoft Executives Lay Out 1998 Product Opportunities and Improved Benefits for Channel Partners

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 17, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today publicly posted highlights of the live broadcast launch of the Microsoft® Certified Solution Provider (MCSP) 98 program, featuring Microsoft executives discussing top business opportunities for 1998. The private broadcast was seen around the world last week by thousands of Microsoft Certified Solution Providers via satellite downlink and the Microsoft NetShow
server, Microsoft’s networked multimedia software, from the private MCSP Web site. The edited version of the two-hour broadcast launch can be viewed via NetShow at .

The event, hosted by Sam Jadallah, vice president of the organization customer unit at Microsoft, featured Steve Ballmer, executive vice president of sales and support, and Rich Tong, vice president of marketing, personal and business systems group, who discussed top business opportunities and challenges in 1998. Juan Vegarra, director of the worldwide MCSP program, introduced the enhanced program benefits that provide a diverse group of MCSPs with more flexibility, greater online resources, and advanced business opportunities.

“Windows NT® 5.0 is big, big, big, big, big,” Ballmer said. “Windows NT 5.0 will motivate infrastructure change. It is our TCO release. Leading-edge customers will want to make those migrations [to Windows NT 5.0] quickly. I think it’s the biggest opportunity, even bigger in many ways, frankly, than the Windows® 95 opportunity was, at least for Solution Providers.”

In terms of providing service revenue opportunity to MCSPs, Tong noted, “One of the things we’ve done with our Windows NT 5.0 product is made it a very easy upgrade from any previous version of Windows NT. That doesn’t mean you put the CD in the machine and it just kind of works; there’s still the preparation and planning – that’s consulting revenue for you.”

Vegarra outlined the enhanced features of the MCSP 98 program, scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 1998, including the following:

  • A new advertising campaign. A new advertising campaign will build awareness of the customer benefits of engaging with an MCSP. The emphasis will be on the quality of service provided by MCSPs and their ability to deliver complete solutions using the latest tools and technology from Microsoft.

  • More flexible benefits. MCSPs will be able to choose from a variety of technical support offerings to select the level of support that best meets their business requirements. Additional copies of technical and product resources, supplied through TechNet and Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) will now be available to MCSPs at discounted prices. Also, the number of licenses for product betas and developer products has increased.

  • Improved online resources. More timely access to new products and information is available through MCSP Online, the enhanced private Web site exclusively for MCSPs, including Microsoft Consulting Service (MCS) service guides.

“We have a diverse group of channel partners today,” Jadallah said. “We have listened carefully to what each segment of the channel needs to continue to build a healthy business around Microsoft solutions and provide excellent service to its customers. We have taken their feedback and responded in this year’s program. We’ve received strong positive feedback from MCSPs that demonstrates the channel’s support of the changes we’ve made.”

“The access to internal sales tools, such as product presentations and service guides, has helped us to speed up our sales process,” said P.H. Mullen, director of sales at Ensemble Systems

Corp. in Redwood City, Calif. “Microsoft has been very responsive to our desire to more closely integrate with the MCSP program to better serve our customers.”

Organizations wanting to renew or enroll in the MCSP 98 program may do so online at .

MCSPs are independent organizations working with Microsoft that include a wide range of companies, such as systems integrators and installation experts, VARs, developers, consultants, and technical support and training organizations. MCSPs add value by offering their customers a full range of services, such as vertical and horizontal solutions, line-of-business applications, and client and server implementation and systems integration, including multivendor expertise and training. Currently, there are more than 13,728 MCSPs worldwide. For more information, 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 mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, NetShow, Windows NT and Windows 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.

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