Equant and NetStore Certified by Microsoft to Deliver Highest Quality ASP Services

NICE, Oct. 25 2000 — Microsoft today announced that Equant and NetStore have achieved certification in the European phase of its global Application Service Provider (ASP) Certification Program. Launched last July, the program has been developed to provide market recognition for ASP partners that demonstrate consistent, high-quality delivery of specific hosted or outsourcing services built on Microsoft technology.

Certified on Hosted Exchange services, Equant and NetStore have met the exacting, pre-defined eligibility, service quality benchmarking and operational readiness criteria of the program.

Jean-Yves Charlier, President of Markets and Sales for Equant, commented:
“The ASP market is thriving, but most ASPs are national in operation which makes it difficult for multi-national corporations to choose a reliable partner. Equant is well positioned with its seamless global network to deliver an integrated solution with a consistent level of service worldwide. With Microsoft’s ASP Certification Program, the bar has been set very high, assuring end-users of the greatest levels of service and availability from certified ASPs.”

Gary Smith, Chief Executive Officer at NetStore, said:
“Any ASP awarded certification after such rigorous examination is able to provide a level of assurance and trust to the end-user community that no existing certification process delivers. NetStore is delighted to be one of the first partners to have achieved the required level of expertise and technology demanded by this global program.”

The ASP Certification Program helps customers to identify ASPs that meet high levels of service readiness, competency and capacity for deploying Microsoft technology. In addition to providing market recognition, the certification process also aims to help ASPs develop their customer and employee commitment through assessment and feedback. Other benefits include business development, sales support training, priority lead referrals and the associated marketing and sales benefits of the Microsoft Certified Solution Providers (MCSP) program.

“With this new certification program, Microsoft aims to provide its partners with accreditation that will lend them real weight in this marketplace. The program has helped Microsoft form closer relationships with both NetStore and Equant and will directly benefit customers though improved skills and service levels,”
said Rosa Garcia, General Manager of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Programs Group.

Initially Equant and NetStore are being certified to offer Hosted Exchange services to customers. Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server is designed to meet the messaging and collaboration needs for businesses of all sizes, from small organisations to large distributed enterprises. It incorporates a communications infrastructure that provides access to information at any time and from anywhere through emerging technologies such as wireless communication, unified messaging, handheld devices, and teleconferencing.

Other hosted or outsourced services and solutions that are currently eligible for certification include: e-Commerce, Managed Desktop, Streaming Media and Office Online.

About NetStore

Founded in 1996, NetStore is Europe’s leading Application Service Provider (‘ASP’). NetStore was the first ASP to achieve a Stock Exchnage Listing in Europe on April 19th 2000 raising 40 Million and valuing the Group at 140m. NetStore is ranked 8th in the Bain & Company’s influential ‘e25’, a list of elite companies that will have the greatest impact on development and growth of the Internet.

NetStore manages software applications on a fixed price, per user, per month basis via the Internet providing businesses with the flexibility to access the software and support services required on a subscription basis. NetStore currently delivers fully scalable, reliable and secure services including Microsoft Exchange, On-line Backup and Recovery and PCRefresh TM to over 17,000 business users. The services provided include all application software, licencing, upgrades and can, include education and consulting. NetStore’s clients include Anheuser-Busch, Avon, Business Objects, Cisco Systems, Citrix, Logica, NatWest Bank, NTL, TeleWest and BT.

Headquartered in Bracknell, UK, NetStore has 83 employees, with offices in Manchester and Paris.

For more information, visit NetStore at http://www.NetStore.net .

For further information contact:

NetStore plc (NES) 01344 444300
Sean O’Reilly, VP Marketing, sean.oreilly@NetStore.net
Hilary Goodband, PR Coordinator, hilary.goodband@NetStore.net

Brodeur WorldWide UK 01753 790700
Vicky Steel vsteel@uk.brodeur.com
Marjan Khanji mkhanji@uk.brodeur.com

About Equant

Equant operates the world’s largest network, providing voice, data, Internet, integration, and application services to companies around the globe. The network reaches key business centres in more than 220 countries and territories. For additional information, see www.equant.com .

For further information contact:

Marty Filipowski
Equant Media Relations
Tel: +1 678 346 3179
Email: marty.filipowski@equant.com

Dara Hailes
Equant Media Relations
Tel: +1 678 346 3178
Email: dara.hailes@equant.com

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

For further information contact:

Matthew Deasey
Write Image Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)20 7959 5461
Email: matthew@write-image.co.uk

George Whitaker
Write Image Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)20 7959 5455
Email: george@write-image.co.uk

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