Microsoft Announces $500 Million Investment to Empower Partners

LOS ANGELES, Calif., July 12, 2002 — Speaking to 3,000 partners in the opening keynote at Microsoft® Fusion 2002, the companys premier annual partner event, Allison Watson, the new vice president of Microsofts Worldwide Partner Sales and Marketing Group, announced plans for an additional $500 million investment in the companys partner community starting this fiscal year, a 50 percent increase over last years total partner investment. The move is a renewal of Microsofts commitment to leadership, predictability and defined opportunity for its 810,000-member partner community.

“We are investing in people, marketing, support, tools and programs on a new level,”
Watson said.
“As a company we can be successful only if all our partner segments are successful. We recognize the need to provide more resources for our partners, and we believe the investments we are making will have a clear impact on our mutual success.”

As Microsoft strives to meet the needs of customers, it is increasing its investing to better engage the vast community of resellers, solution providers, system integrators, ISVs and developers to successfully bring solutions to market.

“Only with strong partner understanding and backing of Microsoft .NET-based technology can we provide the business agility customers need to reach their full potential,”
Watson said.
“Enabling partners with great technology, training resources and marketing is a commitment Microsoft made 27 years ago. The economy has changed, our products have changed, and the industry has changed, but we have not wavered from that basic commitment.”

The $500 million investment will begin July 2002 and will be rolled out in phases over the next two years, with the bulk of the spending coming during the next 12 months. Key components of the investment include the following:

  • Field staff increase. The first part of the investment will increase field staff, giving Microsoft greater ability to work directly with partners to provide the right solutions to their customers. The increase includes partner account managers, partner technical specialists and partner telesales representatives to work directly with partners and customers. It also includes a $4 million investment in training for partner account managers.

“By building new and expanded field teams, Microsoft and our partners are coming together to present solutions for information worker productivity and business agility,”
Watson said.
“If we provide and enable multiple partners across the broad technology marketplace, our customers will also have greater access and choice.”

  • Readiness. A large percentage of the investment will support partner readiness, including the eLearning Center, a sophisticated new Web-based tool that gives partners a customizable learning path to allow them to gain the sales and technical training they want, when they want it. The eLearning Center recently launched with 11 courses; many more are planned in the next fiscal year.

“As part of our readiness commitment, the eLearning Center provides partners with a self-assessment and personalized training program, giving them the training they need for top performance,”
Watson said.

  • Support. Support investments will increase the availability of Microsoft for Partners News Groups and business-critical telephone support. The Microsoft for Partners News Groups provide support professionals to answer questions about Microsoft systems and applications. The language support for these newsgroups will be expanded from English to include German, French, Spanish and Japanese. In another support offering, Microsoft will launch the Online Concierge for Certified Partners, an online service to communicate with Microsoft Technical Support administrators who will direct partners to the appropriate technical resource for specific technical situations.

  • Marketing. Investments in product solutions campaigns are designed to give partners a consistent way to work with Microsoft to drive sales of solutions. The campaigns will include partner readiness, integrated advertising, marketing and sales support.

Additional investment tools and resources designed to increase partner readiness, profitability and satisfaction levels will be introduced throughout the year.

About Fusion

Since its debut in 1996, Microsoft Fusion has become the largest and most anticipated worldwide partner event of the year, providing valuable information, networking opportunities and product exhibits for Microsoft partners. Premier event sponsors for Fusion 2002 were Intel Corp., Compaq Computer Corp. and IBM Corp. More information can be found at .

About Microsoft

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.

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