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Microsoft makes changes to partner certification model

Are you one of the 30,000 Microsoft Certified Solution Providers out there? If so, prepare to change your business cards.

Are you one of the 30,000 Microsoft Certified Solution Providers out there? If so, prepare to change your business cards. Microsoft will scrap its current Microsoft Certified Solution Provider (MCSP) brand in favour of one that includes the company’s newest allies, ISVs and ASPs, the company said last month.

At least five names, including Microsoft Certified Partner, are under consideration as part of the new branding and unified certification program that will be unveiled in September, said Charles Stevens, vice president of Microsoft’s Enterprise and Partner Group.

Stevens says the new branding will reflect the evolving roles of solution providers, software developers and ASPs as teams that will forward Microsoft’s next-generation Internet platform, .Net.
“We can’t implement .Net without partners,” said Stevens, adding that the rise of software services will increase partner opportunities.

Ian Rogoff, who is now vice president of Microsoft’s Enterprise Services and Partner Group, said the certification program must change to fit the new services mode. “We need to evolve around new models, such as ISVs and ASPs.”

Fusion 2000

While at Fusion, Microsoft’s gathering of developers in the United States last month, Rogoff touched on .Net opportunities of the future and the launch of certification programs for ISVs, and now ASPs, and attempted to focus solution provider attention on the forthcoming fleet of Windows DNA servers that will be announced in September.

More than 5,700 certified solution providers showed up for Fusion 2000 this year, representing about one sixth of Microsoft’s total certified solution provider population.

As part of the new programme, which will be rolled out in September, Microsoft will provide a series of new Enterprise Service Tools, including “smart tools” such as Partner Portfolios, for an annual subscription cost of $10,000.

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