Microsoft Offers New Resources and Support With Certification Renewal for Microsoft Certified Partners

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 4, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. today announced new enhancements to its Microsoft Certified Partner program, including live online support advisers, the Microsoft®
Resource Directory and additional product licenses. The program enhancements are part of an ongoing fulfillment of a $500 million incremental investment in resources for Microsoft channel partners, originally announced at Fusion 2002 in July.

“Microsoft has more than 35,000 Microsoft Certified Partners worldwide, and we are absolutely committed to providing them with the resources they need to bring Microsoft solutions and services to customers,”
said Allison Watson, vice president of the Worldwide Partner Sales and Marketing Group at Microsoft.
“These program enhancements are in direct response to our channel partners’ suggestions and feedback.”

The program enhancements are offered in addition to the ongoing benefits of the Microsoft Certified Partner program, and will be available to partners when they renew their membership for 2003. The new program enhancements include the following:

  • Microsoft Resource Directory has been redesigned and improved to allow customers to easily search for Microsoft Certified Partners by solution, industry or expertise. The directory helps customers find the appropriate partner to meet their needs and matches partners with interested customers.

  • Online Concierge Service , a Web-based chat service, is available in English to all Microsoft Certified Partners worldwide. Live online assisted self-help is available 24×7 to guide Microsoft Certified Partners to the right sources to answer their questions about Microsoft products, navigating the Microsoft for Partners site, searching the Knowledge Base, or getting access to other support services.

  • Additional free licenses are available for Microsoft products, including Microsoft Metadirectory Services and, for Gold Certified Partners, Microsoft Operations Manager.

The Microsoft Certified Partner program is an annual certification for independent companies worldwide that provide Microsoft-based IT services and products to corporate, government, and small or medium-sized businesses. The program also includes a Gold Certification level for channel partners that have proven commitment to and expertise in one or more specialized areas when delivering Microsoft technologies. Some of the ongoing benefits of the Microsoft Certified Partner program include these:

  • Microsoft Certified Partner five-pack of Professional Support for free access to Microsoft support professionals by phone for five incidents

  • Access to private news groups and business-critical phone support

  • TechNet Plus and MSDN®
    Universal Technical Subscriptions

  • Product licenses and beta products

  • Customer referrals through an online reporting and prioritization process

  • Early access to product releases

  • Sales and technical training

  • Planning documents, case studies, white papers and more

“We’ve been a Microsoft Certified Partner since 1993; we’re still a small business, but saying that opens a lot of doors for us,”
said Christine Chin-Ryan, president of Synergy Consulting Inc. in Portland, Ore.
“Being a Microsoft Certified Partner is definitely a benefit. For my employees, the certification exams are a big plus; the second thing is all the technical support, on the phone, online through TechNet and elsewhere.”

To become a Microsoft Certified Partner, a company must have at least two full-time employees who are Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs), or have a software product that passes compatibility tests with either Windows®
XP or Windows 2000.

More information regarding Microsoft partner programs can be found at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
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