New Microsoft Resources Support 600,000 Independent Technology Resellers and Consultants

REDMOND, Wash., October 19, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it is providing new online resources for 600,000 independent technology resellers and consultants around the world, offering training courses to keep their skills current, greater access to product support from Microsoft technicians and new revenue opportunities.

The new resources, available through Microsoft Direct Access at , feature free online technical support through monitored news groups and a Support ServiceDesk. Via the news groups, resellers and consultants can post questions and receive answers from experienced senior-level Microsoft support engineers on key products such as Windows NT Server, Small Business Server and Exchange. Peer-to-peer news groups are also allowing users to brainstorm on issues ranging from how to effectively serve the small-business customer, to how to deal with Year 2000 challenges. Resellers and consultants will also have the opportunity to attend free quarterly technical briefings in 400 cities around the world, where they will gain early information on new technologies, technical training on existing products, and insight into new revenue opportunities.

A new Microsoft Direct Access Year 2000 Resource Center helps resellers and consultants develop business processes and consulting services to assist them in providing customers, particularly small businesses, with year 2000 business solutions. According to an April 1998 survey sponsored by Wells Fargo & Co., only 23 percent of small business owners who were aware of the year 2000 (commonly known as Y2K) problem had taken any action, yet 82 percent are at risk for Y2K-related problems. Clearly there is a tremendous business opportunity for consultants to increase awareness and help customers – especially small businesses – address year 2000 issues.

To help resellers and consultants stay up-to-date on the latest technology, Microsoft is offering a variety of subsidized and discounted training courses. Through a relationship with New Horizons Computer Learning Centers Inc., one of the the largest worldwide Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers, Microsoft now offers U.S. resellers and consultants a two-day training course focused on integration with NetWare and Windows NT Server priced at $150 (a $600 US value).

The course is designed to prepare resellers and consultants to integrate or migrate an existing network with a Windows NT network, and students receive “hands-on” experience with a variety of interoperability and migration systems and utilities. To further support the widespread customer demand for Windows NT networking services, Microsoft now provides resellers and consultants with additional subsidized, discounted and free training offerings on Windows NT Server 4.0.

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