Microsoft Expands Microsoft Certified Solution Provider Alliance To Help Channel Take Advantage of Increasing Windows NT Communications Opportunity

ATLANTA, Oct. 22, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced at the Networld+Interop trade show an expansion of the Microsoft® Certified Solution Provider (MCSP) Alliance to incorporate a new category – Windows NT® based communications – which includes remote access solutions, telephony and customer management applications. According to International Data Corp. (IDC) in a May 1998 report, the worldwide market for corporate remote access solutions alone is expected to double from $1.2 billion in revenue during 1997 to $2.4 billion by 2001.

The MCSP Alliance is a Microsoft-sponsored affiliation of product and service companies that extend specialized and discounted offers to MCSPs. With the expansion, 21 hardware, software and services companies offering Windows NT-based communications-focused solutions were added to the alliance, bringing the total number of companies participating to more than 100. Many of the new vendors are exhibiting in Microsoft’s partner pavilion at this week’s show.

Microsoft Certified Solution Providers – channel organizations actively engaged with Microsoft, holding the appropriate certifications and enrolled in the MCSP program – use the MCSP Alliance to learn about new business opportunities and to take advantage of special offers. New offers available with the expansion include discounts on remote Virtual Private Network (VPN) services, remote access products, telephony and integrated messaging solutions, and training programs addressing computer-telephony integration.

Windows NT-based communications solutions represent a tremendous service opportunity for MCSPs around business consulting, application integration, custom application development and training. Factors driving the adoption of Windows NT-based solutions include the desire for standards-based systems, lower cost of ownership and the desire for telephony and data convergence within corporations.

“The MCSP Alliance has enabled our company to explore market opportunities for Windows NT that we might not have previously had the opportunity or resources to research,”
said Randy Illig, president of Forte Systems, an MCSP located outside Philadelphia.
“Using the alliance, we have been able to obtain software valued at $10,000 at no cost. Access to this software has helped us expand our business and provide more valuable solutions to our clients.”

The new vendors participating in the MCSP Alliance include the following:

“The growing availability of Windows NT Server-based solutions is an important development to the remote access and telephony markets,”
said Juan Vegarra, director of the worldwide MCSP program at Microsoft.
“The MCSP Alliance is all about helping our channel partners gain awareness of emerging solutions and take advantage of special offers that benefit their business. The addition of several new communications-focused companies will help MCSPs engage around new service opportunities based on the Windows NT operating system.”

For more information about Windows-based communications, visit the new Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/ntserver/nts/commserv/default.asp .

MCSPs seeking more information on the MCSP Alliance can visit the password-protected MCSP Online Web site at https://mcsp.one.microsoft.com/ , or send correspondence to alliance@microsoft.com.

Microsoft Certified Solution Providers are independent organizations working with Microsoft that include a wide range of companies, such as systems integrators, custom application developers, installation and deployment service providers, business consultants and training organizations. MCSPs add value by offering their customers a full range of services, including Internet, intranet and e-commerce solutions, line-of-business applications, and client/server implementations. For more information on the MCSP program, visit http://www.microsoft.com/certpartner/ .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) 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 and Windows NT 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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