Microsoft Partner Program Recognizes Full Range of Partner Impact To Deliver IT Value to Customers

REDMOND, Wash., March 17, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the upcoming availability of Microsoft®
Competencies and Partner Points, marking a milestone in the redesign of the Microsoft Partner Program to best meet program partners’ business needs. Microsoft Competencies and Partner Points will help partners clearly define their areas of specialization to deliver value across the range of customer information technology (IT) needs. They will enable partners of all sizes and types to participate in the Microsoft Partner Program at the level that best meets their individual business needs. They do so by recognizing partners’ full impact in the marketplace and differentiating those that provide the best value and skills for customers.

“The Microsoft Competencies and Partner Points will help partners clearly identify their areas of expertise, making it easier for them to position themselves with their customers and better align their business with Microsoft marketing initiatives and business groups,” said Allison Watson, vice president of the Worldwide Partner Sales and Marketing Group at Microsoft. “These two components mark the first step in delivering a revolution in partnering innovation and implementing it across our worldwide channel in an evolutionary way, meeting our goal to build the best-in-class industry partner program that generates results for our partners.”

The two new components Watson referred to are central to the reconfigured Microsoft Partner Program and are intended to provide flexibility and increased focus based on partners’ core business values. They also are designed to recognize the full range of partner impact to deliver IT value to customers, while enabling a deeper relationship with Microsoft and targeted delivery of resources and marketing tools that will help partners thrive in a competitive market.

“Partners play a critical role in delivering solutions and applications to customers with the Microsoft Office System,” said Jeff Raikes, group vice president of Productivity and Business Services at Microsoft. “The value of Microsoft Competencies is that they enable Microsoft to deliver resources and training to partners who are meeting the customer needs. And, for partners, the opportunity to highlight their expertise to customers is tremendous in the growing information worker solution market.”

Microsoft Solution Competencies: Focus for Partners

Microsoft Competencies allow partners to clearly define their areas of expertise in a specific solution area that best fits their business model. At the same time they make it easier for partners to position their specialties to customers, better align their businesses with Microsoft product groups and marketing initiatives, and form closer relationships with other Microsoft partners.

“One of the primary benefits is that Microsoft Competencies will help us further enhance and define our business by allowing our customers to more easily identify the tools and resources we can offer them,” said Pat Cooke, president of I.S. Outsource, a Microsoft Certified Partner in Seattle. “The Microsoft Competencies will benefit us in a number of ways that are critical to our continued success. This is a great tool for improving our relationship with our customers, and with Microsoft.”

Microsoft Competencies bring focus to the way Microsoft communicates with its partners and clearly identify to customers the expertise of the partner community to help ensure a high-quality customer experience. In addition, Microsoft Competencies provide a road map that partners can use to extend their business or collaborate with other partners to achieve greater business strengths. By matching a partner’s expertise with customer needs, Microsoft Competencies will allow more accurate matches with marketing and demand generation based on the unique business opportunities in the marketplace.

The Microsoft Competencies for which partners may qualify are Networking Infrastructure, Advanced Infrastructure, Security, Integrated E-Business, Business Intelligence, Information Work Productivity, ISV/Software Solutions and Learning Solutions. The Microsoft Business Solutions Competency, Microsoft System Builder Solution Competency and Licensing Solution Competency will be launched later in 2004.

Partner Points: Measuring Impact

Partner Points recognize and differentiate partners regardless of their business type or size. Partner Points create a flexible way for partners to measure the success they have with customers and the total impact of their business.

Partners can earn Partner Points by meeting specific criteria for a variety of activities related to developing, reselling, servicing and supporting solutions; and training customers. Specifically, Partner Points can be earned for Microsoft Premier Certified Professional certifications, tested Microsoft-based solutions, customer satisfaction, unit sales of official Microsoft learning products and distributed licenses. Partners also can accrue Partner Points by achieving a Microsoft Solution Competency.

“We want to give partners a clear road map to show how they can earn the level in the program that works best for their business, so they can see what they would need to do to go from being a Certified Partner to becoming a Gold Certified Partner,” Watson said. “Partner Points recognize a partner’s full impact with its customers, rather than focusing on a narrow set of criteria. Once enrolled in the Microsoft Partner Program, partners can move to a higher level by meeting the Partner Points requirements.”


Partners will have an opportunity to enroll in both Microsoft Competencies and Partner Points at the end of April. As part of its commitment to provide partners with ongoing communication and the opportunity to evaluate program elements, Microsoft is providing webcasts and other tools and resources designed to help partners learn about Microsoft Competencies and Partner Points. Current partners are grandfathered into the program at their current level, providing them with time to explore the new Partner Points and model their current business.

Specific information on each of the Microsoft Competencies and a review of the Partner Points requirements can be seen at .

About the Microsoft Partner Program

The goal of the Microsoft Partner Program, announced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in October 2003, is to better align with each partner’s business focus, recognize the complete impact of partners’ relationships with customers, and provide partners with increased value for the investments they have made in Microsoft. Through the Partner Points and Microsoft Solution Competencies, partners can realize a deeper relationship with Microsoft that will empower them to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft is a registered trademark 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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