Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professionals Improve The Technical Community Experience Worldwide

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 11, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. is pleased to host nearly 700 Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), more than 50 percent of the total number of MVPs from around the globe, for the eighth MVP Summit. This marks the 10th year of the MVP Program, which recognizes individuals with expertise in one or more Microsoft®
products for their active participation and efforts to help other Microsoft customers in online communities.

MVPs from 46 countries are visiting the Microsoft campus for a three-day summit designed to provide them with detailed technical training and feedback sessions on key product technologies as well as access to top Microsoft executives and product managers. Today, Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect; Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer; and Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platforms Group, are among the nine Microsoft executives speaking at the summit who will convey the company’s commitment to building a deeper and more consistent relationship with Microsoft’s MVPs.

“MVPs play an important role in Microsoft’s continuing efforts to help customers and partners meet their business objectives,”
Ballmer said.
“Through online technical communities, MVPs have a direct, interactive connection with partners and customers, through which they provide an enriched pool of knowledge and real-life experience.”

As part of the MVP Summit, Microsoft is unveiling a series of programs that will give MVPs direct access to resources, training and certification, including the launch of the MVP Academy. Created for MVPs, the academy provides access to online training courses to enhance their technical skills. Further, Microsoft is creating a new beta enrollment program that gives MVPs a chance to provide greater feedback on course development and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) certification. The new programs and resources will be available through an external Web site available exclusively to MVPs.

The MVP extranet also will allow unprecedented access to an extended knowledge base and enhanced Web services that will augment the customer connection and feedback processes. The site will feature real-time accountability for what is known among MVPs as the
“Wish Update,”
enabling online tracking of MVP technical feedback and Microsoft’s responses as part of MVPs’ ongoing interaction with the product groups at Microsoft.

Representing more than 52 countries, the MVPs share deep and diverse expertise in one or more Microsoft products along with a willingness to share their knowledge with others. The 1,300 MVPs actively participate in hundreds of online and technical communities, including Microsoft public newsgroups, which are popular forums for communicating with peers about Microsoft products, technologies and services. This year’s MVP Summit includes first-time participants from Japan, Brazil and the Czech Republic.

More information about the MVP Program and related newsgroups can be found at . Related stories can be found at .

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