Microsoft Announces Free Phone Support for Technology Providers

REDMOND, Wash., April 6, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced Microsoft® Direct Access Business Critical Phone Support, free phone support that enables technology providers to solve their customers’ business-critical issues quickly and cost-effectively. The new support offering is available to more than 325,000 independent resellers and consultants, including Microsoft Certified Solution Providers, in North America. Business Critical Phone Support, part of a $30 million investment in free online and phone support for technology providers worldwide, gives technology providers immediate and unlimited access to Microsoft technical support professionals to solve any technical issue that affects a function critical to their customers’ business. Technology providers can register for Business Critical Phone Support via the Microsoft Direct Access Web site at .

“This new support offering is the No. 1 request we’ve received from the channel, and we’re extremely pleased to deliver on that request, providing a resource that will directly impact the success and satisfaction of customers using Microsoft technology,” said Nigel Burton, director, small-business and value-added provider programs at Microsoft. “Business Critical Phone Support is one of several significant investments we will make this year to meet the technical support needs of channel professionals.”

Business Critical Phone Support builds on the success of the recently launched Microsoft Direct Access free online technical support for technology providers. In an independent survey of more than 1,100 users conducted by Decisive Technology, 87 percent of technology providers cited high satisfaction with their ability to receive accurate, timely responses as well as peer insight via the online technical support offering. More than 80 percent of surveyed users cited the technical support newsgroups as a highly valuable resource for recommending and distributing Microsoft products to their customers.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the terrific support offerings Microsoft is providing through Direct Access,” said Dennis Anderson, technical manager of Net/Works Inc. in Fridley, Minn. “As a small company, it has been hard in the past to incur the cost of a call to technical support, knowing that part of that expense would ultimately have to come back to our customers. The Direct Access newsgroups have really reduced our need to call for support, but you never know what kind of problem you’ll run up against out in the field. Now, with Business Critical Phone Support, we’ll always have the kind of help we need to solve critical issues without cutting into our bottom line.”

About Microsoft Direct Access

Microsoft Direct Access, launched in August 1997, enables technology providers, independent resellers and consultants to effectively build their business around Microsoft products and meet the needs of small and mid-size businesses with Microsoft technology solutions. Microsoft Direct Access is designed to give technology providers worldwide the knowledge, tools and resources they need to effectively sell and support customer solutions based on the Microsoft Windows NT® operating system and the BackOffice® family.

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, Windows NT and BackOffice 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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