Microsoft Announces New Support Offerings With a Renewed Focus on Customer Satisfaction

REDMOND, Wash., April 26, 1999 — In an effort to continually enhance customer satisfaction, Microsoft Corp. today announced a new series of specialized support offerings designed for and aligned by specific customer segments. Support offerings are divided into four families, targeting all customers from the enterprise to the home user.

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    Alliance Support is designed for enterprise customers who are running mission-critical applications on the Microsoft® platform in the most demanding technical environments.

  • Microsoft
    Premier Support is designed to meet the needs of enterprise customers and specific organizations that require a managed support relationship with Microsoft.

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    Professional Support is designed to meet the specific needs of the communities of technical professionals that require access to technical information and incident resolution from expert support professionals.

  • Microsoft
    Personal Support is designed for general consumers and home users who require access to support information and responsive incident support in a simple, easy to use manner.

“Microsoft is committed to delivering the highest-quality technical support in the industry. We listened to our customers and used that feedback to shape these offerings,” said Kevin Johnson, vice president of Product Support Services at Microsoft. “Behind each of these support offerings is a well-defined delivery process, experienced support professionals and a technology infrastructure that enables us to deliver great support to our customers.”

Microsoft Alliance Support

Alliance, the highest level of support available from Microsoft, is engineered for customers that run mission-critical applications on Microsoft platforms in the most demanding technical environments. Alliance provides enterprises with service-level commitments and the dedicated Microsoft resources they need to support their business objectives.

Alliance is available via two service offerings: Microsoft Alliance Support for Enterprise Systems provides customers with dedicated Technical Account Managers (TAMs) and support professionals from Microsoft who are focused on meeting specific responsiveness service levels that are customized based on the customer’s needs; Microsoft Alliance Support for High Availability engages the services of Microsoft Certified Support Center high-availability providers to offer service-level commitments based on system availability.

“As Windows NT® becomes more tightly integrated into our customers’ mission-critical business activities, it’s paramount that IT support capabilities are equally integrated to maximize business application uptime and performance,” said Deborah Nelson, vice president and marketing manager for Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Customer Service and Support Group. “Leveraging our combined strengths will help Microsoft and HP quickly achieve the mutual goal of creating the highest customer satisfaction in mission-critical environments.”

Unisys Corp., a new addition to the Microsoft Certified Support Center program, will bring its support expertise and experience to Microsoft Alliance Support.

“Unisys and Microsoft are sharing best practices and methodologies in the development of a customizable support offering that will provide customers a maximum level of support to ensure a finely tuned operation of their enterprise-wide business applications and solutions,” said Ted Bullock, vice president and general manager of Professional Services, Unisys. “Microsoft is fully taking advantage of the strong reputation Unisys has developed for successfully servicing mission-critical environments built around Microsoft technology.”

Microsoft Premier Support

Available since 1992, Microsoft Premier Support has more than 2,600 accounts globally and has achieved significant success in helping customers meet their enterprise support needs. As part of the new support series, Premier Support will include four specific offerings, each one tailored for the customer type it serves: Premier for the Enterprise, Premier for Developers, Premier for Microsoft Certified Solution Providers (MCSPs) and Premier for Original Equipment Manufacturers. Tailored for each segment, the Premier Support offering includes a managed support relationship with Microsoft and goes far beyond incident-based support by providing proactive account management, proactive technical services, information resources and high-quality 24×7 incident resolution. The Premier Online Support site also features critical problem alerts, regular product newsletters, incident tracking and expert round tables. In addition to the four Microsoft-delivered Premier Support offerings, Microsoft Authorized Premier Support is available to meet the needs of medium-sized organizations.

“Microsoft consistently provides my organization with the resources and proactive support we require to ensure success with Microsoft products and technologies,” said Mike Carter, director of technology at IKON Technology Services, an MCSP. “Moving forward, it’s reassuring to know that Microsoft is continually working to create support offerings that meet our unique, and changing, support needs.”

Microsoft Professional Support

The Professional Support family of offerings focuses on the unique needs of communities of technical professionals, including resellers and consultants, IT professionals, software developers, MCSPs, original computer manufacturers and systems builders. These offerings deliver critical Microsoft technical information using the Internet and provide 24×7 incident resolution from expert support professionals. The offerings provide clear escalation paths to Microsoft support experts via the Web and telephone. Microsoft Professional Support is scheduled to be available July 1, 1999, in the United States and by the end of the year in the rest of the world.

Microsoft Personal Support

Microsoft Personal Support is designed to answer home user questions quickly and easily. Microsoft is extending telephone support hours for consumers in the United States to
5 a.m. to 9 p.m. (PST) Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. In addition, the Personal Online Support site is designed for home users, providing them with no-charge support resources such as easy-to-understand self-help, a Knowledge Base tool designed just for home users, on-demand Support WebCasts and easy access to popular home-user support newsgroups. For home users who prefer getting their questions answered via the Web, the Personal Online Support site also allows users to submit support incidents directly to Microsoft engineers via the Web any time day or night.

Alliance and Premier Support are available today. Interested parties should contact Microsoft Enterprise Support Sales at (800) 936-3200 in the United States or Canada. Interested parties outside the United States and Canada should contact their local Microsoft office. New Professional and Personal Support offerings are scheduled to be available July 1, 1999, in the

United States. Customers who are deaf or hard of hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TT/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. More information is also available on the Web at .

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.

The support options described herein are available in the United States and Canada only. Features of some support options differ in Canada. Those seeking information about support offerings outside the United States and Canada should contact the Microsoft subsidiary in their area.

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.

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

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