Microsoft Announces Pilot Program for Application Hosting Providers

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 9, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it has initiated a pilot program to support commercial service providers (CSPs) that host application services based on Microsoft® platforms. The Certified Commercial Network Services Provider (CCNSP) program will help establish CSPs as best suited to meet the growing demands of small and medium-sized businesses for mission-critical hosting services based on the Windows® 2000 operating system. Qwest Communications International Inc. was chosen to participate in the pilot program because of its high interest in demonstrating its proficiencies and capabilities in providing Microsoft product-based services. The first step for Qwest will be an assessment process.

The CCNSP pilot program is open to Microsoft Certified Solution Providers (MCSPs) that make significant commitments to developing skills, training, support and processes relating to Microsoft technology, in addition to meeting specific CCNSP program requirements. For example, to participate, MCSP partners must maintain a significant level of certified expertise on staff, as well as meet the platform and architectural specifications for application hosting that will be defined once the pilot is underway.

The CCNSP pilot program is initially available for commercial service providers in the United States only; however, upon conclusion of the pilot, the program will be expanded to include overseas markets. The purpose of the pilot phase is to gain input from customers and partners before finalizing the program specifications, which include an assessment process. Once this pilot is completed, the CCNSP program specifications will be published more broadly.

“The delivery of software as a service via a range of hosting solutions is an area of incredible opportunity for service providers – but also a challenge for them in terms of differentiation and meeting the expanding expectations of their customers,”
said Thomas Koll, vice president of the Network Solutions Group at Microsoft.
“By developing the Certified Commercial Network Services Provider program, Microsoft aims to enable service providers to demonstrate their unique skills and capabilities in delivering a range of mission-critical hosting services.”

“Qwest is pleased to be the first CSP to participate in the Certified Commercial Network Services Provider pilot program,”
said Lewis O. Wilks, president of Internet and multimedia markets at Qwest.
“The Certified Commercial Network Services Provider pilot will serve as a key to defining internal requirements as Qwest continues to expand service offerings to meet the needs of our customers.”

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 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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