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Microsoft Shuffles Support Offerings to Align with Corporate Reorganization

Microsoft Corp. today announced a new series of support offerings designed for specific customer segments. Support offerings are divided into four groups, targeting customers from the enterprise to the home user. The new groups of support coincide with the new divisions within Microsoft.

Microsoft Alliance Support is designed for enterprise customers who are running mission-critical applications on the Microsoft platform. This version of the new support provides enterprises with service-level commitments and the dedicated Microsoft resources they need to support their business objectives.

Alliance Support is available via two service offerings. Microsoft Alliance Support for Enterprise Systems provides customers with dedicated Technical Account Managers (TAMs) and support professionals from Microsoft who are focused on meeting specific responsiveness service levels that are based on the customer's needs. Microsoft Alliance Support for High Availability engages the services of Microsoft Certified Support Center high-availability providers to offer service-level commitments based on system availability.

For instance, Unisys Corp. (www.unisys.com), a new addition to the Microsoft Certified Support Center program, will bring its support expertise and experience to Microsoft Alliance Support.

Microsoft Premier Support is aimed at enterprise customers and specific organizations that require a managed support relationship with Microsoft.

Premier Support will include four specific offerings, each one tailored for the customer type it serves: Premier for the Enterprise, Premier for Developers, Premier for Microsoft Certified Solution Providers (MCSPs) and Premier for Original Equipment Manufacturers.

The Premier Support offering includes a managed support relationship with Microsoft and provides proactive account management, proactive technical services, information resources and high-quality 24x7 incident resolution. The Premier Online Support site also features critical problem alerts, regular product newsletters, incident tracking and expert round tables.

The Professional Support family of offerings focuses on the needs of communities of technical professionals, including resellers, consultants, IT professionals, software developers, MCSPs, original computer manufacturers and systems builders. These offerings deliver technical information using the Internet and provide 24x7 incident resolution from expert support professionals. The offerings provide paths to Microsoft support experts via the Web and telephone. Microsoft Personal Support is designed for general consumers and home responsive incident support in a simple, easy to use manner.

"We want to ensure that the service offerings we bring to the market are tailored to that market segment," said Kevin Johnson, vice president of Product Support Services at Microsoft in a teleconference.

Alliance and Premier support are available today. New Professional and Personal offerings are scheduled to be available July 1 in the United States and by the end of the year in the rest of the world. --Thomas Sullivan

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.