NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2000 — Today at the Internet World Fall 2000 exposition, Microsoft Corp. announced its enhanced worldwide Microsoft® Certified Partner Program and new endorsement brand, Microsoft Certified Partner. The program will offer new Partner certification choices to customers that are based on the services, applications and hosting capabilities provided by companies that architect, develop, deploy and manage technology. The program will also feature benefits that provide partners with new types of support and resources to prepare their business to build solutions around Microsoft’s .NET Enterprise Servers and other Microsoft technologies.
The Microsoft Certified Partner Program is an enhancement of the current Microsoft Certified Solution Provider (MCSP) Program, which has been in place since 1992 and currently has 31,000 members worldwide. The new program will simplify partners’ engagement with Microsoft and bring systems integrators and custom developers together with application service providers (ASPs), independent software vendors (ISVs), Microsoft Support Centers and other e-business and enterprise systems providers. Customers will benefit from the single, recognizable brand for partner organizations endorsed by Microsoft as certified in delivering solutions ranging from hosting services and vertical industry applications to .NET services. Through certified partners, customers can accelerate their innovation, reduce time to market and mitigate risk with their organization’s technology.
Microsoft Gold Certified Partners Take E-Business and Enterprise-Class Solutions to a Higher Level
The new program will also offer a new level of certification: Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. This certification will allow partners to differentiate themselves based on their area of specialization, thus enabling customers to more easily identify a partner that has demonstrated its ability with comparable projects. Gold certification will be based on the verification of real-world customer references and advanced certification requirements that demand deep technical competency in complex business solutions. This track record in innovative solutions provision, application development and proven project management will mitigate customer risk and accelerate time to market.
“The Microsoft partnership recognition was a critical factor in our selection of an e-commerce solution provider,”
said Steve Carlyle, group business manager at BioLab Inc.
With our first major Web-based initiative, we needed a company that was able to meet not only our expectations for success, but also a high certification bar. We partnered with Extreme Logic based on its reputation, extensive senior knowledge and acknowledgment from Microsoft that it provided the expertise we needed. It’s great that Microsoft is going the extra step with the new Microsoft Gold certification to make sure we are successful with its products.”
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner areas of certification will include the following:
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for E-Commerce Solutions
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Hosting and Application Services
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Enterprise Systems
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for Support Services
Additional Gold Certified Partner tracks will be announced during the program year.
Microsoft Continues to Invest Heavily in Partner Programs and Expands Benefits for 2001
Members of Microsoft’s MCSP Program will see a number of improvements with the new Microsoft Certified Partner Program when it officially launches on Jan. 1, 2001. Expanded benefits will focus on two key areas: market readiness and technical readiness. Gold Certified Partners will receive a set of incremental benefits that are closely related to their areas of specialization. In all, Microsoft will invest more than $1 billion in partners in 2001.
“Microsoft’s success depends entirely on our partners,”
said Ian Rogoff, vice president of the Enterprise Partner Group at Microsoft.
“We will continue to increase our investment in our certified partners to ensure that they keep investing in Microsoft as their technology platform and partner of choice. With our current technology, the new .NET Enterprise Server platform and the expanded Microsoft Certified Partner Program, we have the ideal combination for partner and customer success.”
Partners will receive a variety of new and expanded technical and market readiness benefits based on their business needs. New offerings will include Enterprise Service Offerings, which deliver prescriptive architectures developed by partners and Microsoft Consulting Services to help guide technology customers’ solutions through all stages of the IT life cycle. Microsoft Certified Partners may also offer exclusive ASP licenses to customers through the ASP Licensing Program. Microsoft Official Curriculum is now available for partners that are interested in offering customer training. New .NET readiness materials will prepare partners to deliver .NET solutions to customers enabling truly distributed Web services.
“Extreme Logic, a longtime Microsoft partner and current Partner of the Year for North America, views the higher level of recognition in Microsoft’s partnership channel as significant to the services Extreme Logic provides,”
said Wain Kellum, CEO of Extreme Logic.
“With the new Microsoft Gold certification, customers are assured they are getting the solutions specific to their needs. Since 1993, Extreme Logic has offered technological expertise based on the Microsoft platform. We are pleased with the enhancement of the Microsoft Certified Partner Program, which differentiates our ability to provide services that maximize the benefits from the Internet.”
Another key new benefit to the program will be opportunities for peer networking that will help partners with varying areas of specialization explore ways of building end-to-end customer solutions together. In addition, many partners to date have received only the specific resources related directly to their area of specialization through their path of engagement with Microsoft. As Microsoft Certified Partners, these companies will now enjoy a new level of programmatic benefits.
“In the past, we’ve gotten high-quality resources from Microsoft that have helped us improve our support center offerings,”
said Robert Verbeke, director of Central Support Operations at Unisys Corp.
“However, the new universe of resources through the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program is going to increase our exposure to new benefits, business development resources and information that will allow us to take a broader, new perspective on our Microsoft business.”
The requirements for basic membership in the program will remain the same as last year, and current MCSPs will be automatically qualified to renew their membership as long as they continue to employ a minimum of two Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs). However, Microsoft will provide new options in 2001 for partner organizations such as ASPs, ISVs and support centers to substitute product and platform certifications for individual certifications, providing them with access to the unified Microsoft Certified Partner Program and brand.
The Association of Microsoft Solution Providers (AMSP) and Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers also will undergo a related brand update during the same time frame.
The annual membership fee will not increase in 2001 for either Microsoft Certified Partners or Gold Certified Partners. The current fee in the United States is $1,395 per year and may vary internationally by region. Program members and parties interested in renewing or joining the new Microsoft Certified Partner Program can visit http://www.microsoft.com/certpartner/ for more information. Partners will be able to enroll, renew membership and apply for the Gold Certified Partner membership on or after Nov. 27.
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