Microsoft Opens Product Development Cycle and Knowledge Base To Most Valuable Professional Contributions

SEATTLE, April 6, 2004 — At the annual Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Summit, Microsoft Corp. executives announced the Community Solutions Content Program for Microsoft Knowledge Base, key updates regarding the Microsoft MVP Source Licensing Program, and new feedback, assistance and community tools tailored for MVPs that will help facilitate feedback in the Microsoft
product development cycle. An audience of more than 1,500 MVP award recipients, representing more than 63 countries, heard the announcements at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center.

Executives speaking at the MVP Summit included Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer; Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platforms Group; Eric Rudder, senior vice president of Servers and Tools; Lori Moore, corporate vice president of Product Support Services (PSS); and Rich Kaplan, corporate vice president of the Content Development and Delivery Group (CDDG).

“MVPs are an exceptionally rich resource within the user community that help us better understand our customers’ needs and how they use our products,” Ballmer said. “They enthusiastically empower and inspire our customers worldwide on a daily basis, helping them with practical matters as well as strategic planning.”

Community Solutions Content Program for Microsoft Knowledge Base

Ballmer unveiled the Community Solutions Content Program, an exclusive pilot program that allows MVPs to author Community Solutions content that will be hosted in the Microsoft Knowledge Base for Microsoft products and technologies. The program is the first time in the history of the company in which Knowledge Base content will be contributed by external community experts.

Launch of the program is in direct response to MVP and customer requests. Strengthening the relationship between Microsoft and the company’s most devoted software users will further benefit customers who already view both MVPs and Knowledge Base as trusted sources for knowledgeable and outstanding technical advice.

“I am extremely excited that MVPs now have the opportunity to author content for Microsoft products and technologies. This is truly great for MVPs, for our customers and for Microsoft,” Ballmer said. “We have seen that Knowledge Base Community Solutions content authored by MVPs has shown an exceptionally high rate of success in helping online customers answer their questions.”

Microsoft MVP Source Licensing Program Update

Allchin provided an update on the Microsoft MVP Source Licensing Program that was announced to MVPs in October 2003. To date, more than 200 MVPs in eligible countries are licensed through the Shared Source Initiative and are now accessing one of Microsoft’s most valuable assets, Windows®
source code. Each source-licensing program under the Shared Source Initiative is tailored to the needs of a particular Microsoft constituent community and can be applied as a model for increasing code transparency throughout commercial software. The MVP Source Licensing Program was designed with the MVP community’s unique needs for source-code access in mind. Raising the level of self-support the community can find inspires greater community participation and provides a stronger feedback loop to Microsoft.

New Feedback, Assistance and Community Tools Tailored for MVPs

Rudder thanked MVPs for their ongoing commitment to provide valuable feedback on Microsoft products and further reinforced Microsoft’s commitment to expand efforts to involve MVPs in the product development cycle. Later during the day, Kaplan outlined new assistance and community tools for end users. These new tools provide a feedback channel that will allow customers to submit and vote on feature and product suggestions for Microsoft and discuss those suggestions. The feedback will go to the Microsoft team responsible for the specific technology; the team then can respond to suggestions that garner the most votes, ultimately allowing customers to connect with the people at Microsoft who are responsible for the products and issues they care about most. The feedback channel, which is scheduled to go live in early summer, is part of a joint project between the Office division, CDDG, Windows Client division and PSS.

As Microsoft continues to expand its worldwide commitment to connect with customers in technical communities every day, participation in the MVP Award Program has grown dramatically; internationally, participation grew 170 percent during the 2004 award year. In its 11th year, the MVP Award Program has recognized more than 2,500 individuals with expertise in one or more Microsoft products who actively participate in online and offline communities to share their knowledge and expertise with other Microsoft software customers.

Most MVPs average more than 15 years of technical experience in their given fields. They are men and women ranging in age from 13 to their mid-60s who represent an extremely broad range of backgrounds and professions and are also published authors, operators of Web sites devoted to one or more Microsoft products, public speakers, trainers and professional developers. When an MVP provides technical assistance or expertise, whether to an online or offline community, peers and customers immediately know they are receiving high-quality advice from an experienced and knowledgeable person.

During the four-day MVP Summit, attendees will be taking part in activities hosted at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle and the Microsoft Corporate Campus in Redmond, Wash. Scheduled activities for MVP award winners include opportunities to interact with peers, attend technical presentations and demonstrations given by various Microsoft product groups, and participate in question-and-answer sessions with key Microsoft executives representing a number of product groups.

About the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award Program

Microsoft started the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award Program in the early 1990s as a way to recognize those members of the general public who devoted their time and considerable computing skills to helping users in the various newsgroups hosted by Microsoft. Since that time, the Microsoft MVP Award Program has grown and awards are now given to the most outstanding members of Microsoft technical communities for their exceptional contributions to hundreds of online and offline technical communities, including Microsoft public newsgroups, third-party Web sites that include Web boards and Web logs (or blogs), and user groups — all popular forums for communicating with peers about Microsoft products, technologies and services.

The MVP Award Program has grown to represent more than 2,500 individuals in 63 countries; it spans 20 languages and more than 70 Microsoft technologies. MVPs share deep and diverse expertise in one or more Microsoft products along with a willingness to share their knowledge with others.

More information about the MVP Award Program and related newsgroups can be found at . More information on Microsoft technical communities can be found at .

About Microsoft Knowledge Base

The Microsoft Knowledge Base is a database of technical articles about Microsoft products and technologies. These articles range from “How to” articles that describe how to complete a specific task to “Bug” articles that document known issues with Microsoft products. Many people refer to the Microsoft Knowledge Base by just the letters “KB.” The Microsoft Knowledge Base is available at the following Microsoft Web site;[ln];kbinfo .

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 and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at .

Microsoft MVP Statement Sheet
April 2004

“The MVPs are incredibly important to Microsoft and the software community as a whole. Their contributions extend far and wide, from helping and inspiring software users to providing invaluable feedback to Microsoft that we use to make better products.”

— Eric Rudder, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Servers and Tools

“The MVPs play a key role in the technology user community, and their passion for helping others is inspirational. As MVPs demonstrate their expertise in the communities, they inspire customers around the world on a daily basis to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the software products they use every day. As always, they continue to amaze me, day in and day out.”

— Lori Moore, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Product Support Services

“By listening, sharing and responding to the MVP community, we are doing our part to strengthen the software ecosystem for our customers while enriching the broader Microsoft product and community experience worldwide.”

— Rich Kaplan, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Content Development and Delivery Group (CDDG)

“Whether posting in public newsgroups or providing feedback in a technology beta program, MVPs add value throughout the product life cycle and play an important role in helping us make product decisions about Microsoft technologies to help enrich the customer experience.”

— Sean O’Driscoll, Director, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, (MVP) Award Program

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