Enrollment Opens and Marks the Start of New Microsoft Partner Program For Worldwide Network of Industry Partners

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 10, 2003 — With the opening of annual enrollment this week, Microsoft®
Certified and Gold Certified partners have their first opportunity to participate in the new Microsoft Partner Program. The new program, which was announced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in October, embraces a new partner-centric approach that empowers industry partners to maximize their relationship with Microsoft Corp., providing them with the technology solutions and services they need to meet their customers’ needs.

The beginning of the annual enrollment period is a critical first step in realizing the vision that drove the development of the new program. “First and foremost, we developed the Microsoft Partner Program so that partners can build a relationship with Microsoft that encompasses unique business models and recognizes partners that provide customers with the highest level of service,” said Allison Watson, vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group at Microsoft. “The annual renewal process for our Certified and Gold Certified partners marks the beginning of making this vision a reality. We remain committed to our mission to build and deliver a partner program that is truly world class, that provides more value and that helps industry partners leverage the power of Microsoft’s brands.”

During the first year of enrollment, industry partners at the Gold and Certified levels, including Microsoft Business Solutions Certified partners, will be grandfathered into the Microsoft Partner Program at their current levels. The new program also marks the beginning of a rolling renewal process that allows partners to have a full year in the program, regardless of when they enroll.

Industry partners are enthusiastic about the new program becoming a reality. “The recently announced program changes demonstrate a positive step toward what partner programs should eventually look like,” said Gary Dickinson, president of InterKnowlogy LLC, a San Diego-based software solutions engineering company primarily focused on developing leading-edge solutions for Microsoft platforms. “It’s good that Microsoft is recognizing specific competencies and capabilities and providing benefits tailored toward a partner’s business model. That’s exactly what’s needed.”

The new program is specifically designed to provide partners that have a broad skill set with a clear way to participate, while also encouraging specialization for those partners that want to highlight their unique skill set in the marketplace. Microsoft’s new partner program also takes an integrated approach to delivering marketing resources to industry partners and will build upon a strong industry partner brand that customers will recognize, value and seek.

As part of the new program, Microsoft will deliver tailored benefits for Certified and Gold Certified partners to help with business development, communication and marketing. Throughout 2004, the new program also will offer increased product support and training, and Microsoft will deliver enhanced benefits specifically for Gold Certified and Certified Partners, including account management and collaboration services, targeted go-to-market campaigns, robust training offerings, and other top-level benefits.

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