Microsoft Expands and Enhances Microsoft Certified Partner Programs To Deliver Greater Value to Members and Customers Worldwide

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 28, 2001 — To help its Microsoft® Certified Partner Program and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program members provide superior value to their customers and increase their market share, Microsoft Corp. today announced a range of program enhancements, including improved technical, marketing and sales resources. In addition, the programs will now be available for independent hardware vendors (IHVs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

“Microsoft strives to provide unparalleled certification programs that help participants differentiate themselves in the industry, accelerate time to market, deepen credibility with customers and achieve their strategic business goals,”
said Rosa Garcia, worldwide general manager of partner marketing and sales for Microsoft.
“We are very proud of the success of the Microsoft Certified Partner Program, but wanted to take the program to the next level. We expect the improvements we are announcing for 2002 to increase the business value that members and customers gain from the Certified Partner Program.”

New 2002 Program Benefits for Microsoft Certified Partners

In 2002, Microsoft Certified Partners will receive improved benefits, including the following:

  • New products for internal use. Members will receive internal-use licenses for several new products, including the SharePoint™ Portal Server, the Windows® XP operating system, Microsoft Project 2002, Visio® 2002 Professional drawing and diagramming software and MapPoint® 2002 business mapping software. These licenses complement the licenses already received by members for Office XP, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Exchange 2000 Server, SQL Server™
    2000 and Small Business Server 2000.

  • Discounts on additional internal-use desktop licenses. Members wishing to acquire additional internal-use desktop licenses for the products supported can do so at a discount.

  • New business platform evaluation kits. Microsoft will offer new evaluation kits designed to enable partners to quickly deploy structured pilots for customers and expedite the sales cycle. Initially, these kits will focus on Microsofts desktop, server and advanced server technologies for the enterprise. Subsequent kits will focus on solutions for empowering employees, connecting customers and integrating business partners. Free sampler kits will be delivered through the official welcome kit, and members can order additional kits online at cost.

  • Expanded Certified Partner Web site. The private Microsoft Certified Partner Web site provides exclusive, comprehensive, up-to-date information on the company, products and programs. The site is integrated with Microsofts premier partner portal. The Certified Partner Web site also has been migrated to Passport so that members have consistent authentication for accessing all Web sites on

“The 2002 Microsoft Certified Partner Program changes will offer more options to our customers and to our own sales models,”
said John Hunt, president of Hunt Interactive Inc., a Washington-based solutions provider.
“For instance, the new server software try-before-you-buy license will permit us to set up proof-of-concept or pilot SharePoint Portal Server deployments at our customers offices. This program gives us the kind of flexibility we need to help our customers understand the value and capabilities of our software solutions.”

New 2002 Benefits for Microsoft Gold Certified Partners

Gold Certified Partners will receive all the new benefits listed above for Microsoft Certified Partners, as well as these:

  • Additional new products for internal use. Gold Certified Partners will receive internal-use licenses for the entire family of Microsoft .NET Enterprise Servers.

  • Greater numbers of product licenses for internal use. For example, Gold Certified Partners will receive 100 product licenses each for Office XP and Windows XP Professional, and 100 client access licenses each for Exchange 2000, SharePoint Portal Server and SQL Server 2000.

  • Unlimited product licenses for use in solution demonstrations at customer sites.

  • Automatic access to Microsoft solutions , including the Microsoft Solution for Supplier Enablement, the Microsoft BizTalk™
    Accelerator for HIPAA and other solutions as they become available, will be given to Gold Certified Partners. They will not need to purchase the solutions separately from Microsoft. These are integrated, tested, documented and extensible enterprise solutions featuring Microsoft technologies, prescriptive tools, services, and support from Microsoft and its partners. Members can take advantage of this intellectual property to provide more value to customers in an accelerated time frame.

“Microsofts Gold Certified Partners place a high value on the strategic relationship they develop with Microsoft for their business,”
said Stephen Graham, analyst for International Data Corp. (IDC).
“When evaluating the most valuable aspects of Microsofts certification programs for meeting business goals, most partners cite early access to technology, training and certification programs as the most important programs and activities. Microsoft is showing strong partner commitment by investing in and maintaining these quality programs.”

Certification Opportunities for IHVs, OEMs and Hosting Companies

Microsoft is offering IHVs and OEMs the opportunity to enroll in the Microsoft Certified Partner Program if they have a product that passes the Designed for Windows XP logo certification test. Throughout the year, Microsoft will announce additional product certification opportunities for the Certified Partner Program, including certifications for Exchange Server, BizTalk Server and the forthcoming family of Windows .NET Servers. A new certification in Hosting features an on-site assessment process for application infrastructure providers.

Background on Program Benefits for Microsoft Certified and Gold Certified Partners

Traditionally, as part of the award-winning Microsoft Certified Partner Program, members receive Microsoft product licenses for internal and marketing use, extensive technical training and support including online subscriptions to the MSDN® developer program and TechNet, access to prerelease product information, monthly sales and marketing resource updates, and direct communications from Microsoft. In addition, participating companies are profiled in Microsofts online partner referral system, which enables customers to quickly find the right provider for a project, service or solution. Microsoft Certified Partners electing to become Gold Certified in a specialized area receive incremental benefits, including additional product licenses, prioritized referrals, earlier technical training and product betas, and exclusive Web content.

Requirements for Becoming a Certified Partner or Gold Certified Partner

To become a Microsoft Certified Partner, a company must have a minimum of two Microsoft certified professionals on staff or a product that is tested for the Microsoft platform. To become a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, an organization must already be a Microsoft Certified Partner, provide customer references for solutions using Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000, have staff with advanced Microsoft certifications (MCSE, MCSD or Windows certification based on Windows 2000), or fulfill requirements specific to the certification track selected. ISVs, ASPs, support centers and service providers are eligible to obtain Gold Certified status in any of the available tracks, including Learning Solutions, Business Intelligence, Collaborative Solutions, E-Commerce, Enterprise Systems, Support Services, Hosting and Application Services, and Software Products.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) 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, SharePoint, Windows, Visio, MapPoint, BizTalk and MSDN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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