Microsoft Partner Support Programs Channeling Success

REDMOND, Wash. — May 17, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today discussed its recent win at the Gartner ITChannel Vision event in Monte Carlo last month, where the company was recognized as having the technology industry’s Best System Builder Marketing Program. In voting on the award, system builders identified the Microsoft® Partner Program and the company’s System Builder Cooperative Marketing Program as especially valuable tools to help them compete. The company also discussed its latest offers and initiatives designed to build on the success of its reseller outreach efforts over the coming year.

“These programs, delivered to system builders this year, address eight of the nine top requests the system builder community has told us they want from Microsoft,” said Kurt Kolb, vice president of Worldwide System Builder and Genuine Software Initiative at Microsoft. “We are committed to giving system builders the resources and support they ask for, and are honored that they have recognized the effort and investments we’ve made to help them succeed.”

Based on ballots taken from software resellers themselves, the award is a gauge of the effectiveness of the company’s programs in increasing the satisfaction of its critical reseller partners and helping them compete in the marketplace. More than 220 partners from 21 countries in Europe attended this year’s Gartner ITChannel Vision event from the system builder community.

“The range of programs we’re offering to the system builder community speaks to the value they bring to the marketplace, and how critical they are as partners for Microsoft,” said Scott DiValerio, corporate vice president of the OEM division at Microsoft. “We look forward to continuing our dialogue with resellers over the coming year, and adding more value to our existing programs that provide incentives and rewards to help them compete.”

The Microsoft Partner Program is the programmatic umbrella under which the company’s system builder marketing programs and the OEM Hardware Solutions Competency program operate. The benefits associated with the Microsoft Partner Program include Microsoft branding materials to help partners differentiate themselves from their competitors, account management support, internal use software and technical support offerings, including fully staffed newsgroups, telephone support and advisory hours. The program also provides a Partner Marketing Center, which gives system builders access to a variety of marketing campaign materials that can easily be customized.

Nico Brommeljé of Alternate Computers, a Netherlands-based company, commented on the award-winning program. “By working closely together with Microsoft and attaining the competency, our products and people are always working with the newest technologies,” Brommeljé said. “We will be Windows Vista-ready before launch, and this is a big advantage in our competitive market.”

Another program, Microsoft’s System Builder Cooperative Marketing Program, which was launched earlier this year, was also identified as a valuable addition to partner businesses. The program enables Microsoft’s direct monetary investment in demand generation, market development, brand development and partner readiness activities. “At CMS, we wanted to build our Zoostorm brand of computers and had tried various tactics to increase turnover,” said Sion Roberts, director of the U.K.-based CMS Computers. “The funds have had a huge impact on sales generation and brand development. We’ve seen an 80 percent jump in revenues over the last year.”

Riding the Laptop Trend

Also today, Kolb discussed the company’s latest efforts to help system builders capitalize on the notebook trend as part of the company’s existing “Build Notebooks. Go Beyond” campaign with a Mobile Built-To-Order rebate program. The program allows U.S. system builders to earn a rebate from Microsoft for each qualifying mobile computer “shell” and copy of Windows® XP Professional Edition they purchase through June 30. The program is scheduled to be available in other regions after June 30.

Buy Local Campaign Continues to Grow

Kolb also provided updates on the company’s Buy Local campaign, revamped in March, which offers customers a promotional Bonus Pack for each genuine copy of Microsoft Windows XP purchased from any U.S. system builder that in turn has purchased the software from a Microsoft authorized distributor. The Bonus Pack is worth up to $1,200 and includes goods, services and discounts for a D-Link wireless router (after a $50 (U.S.) rebate), a 30-day T-Mobile HotSpot subscription, movies from CinemaNow Inc., and training from New Horizons Computer Learning Centers Inc.

Since the campaign was launched in October, nearly 1 million customers have visited the Buy Local site, thousands of system builders have downloaded the site’s marketing support materials, and more than 160,000 customers have used the locator tool to find a local system builder. The Buy Local campaign is scheduled to expand to 11 additional countries later this year. System builders can find more information about Buy Local at

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

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