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Microsoft Pilot Flies

Microsoft Corp. is officially throwing its hat into the application service provider (ASP) market. Today the company announced a pilot program to support what it calls commercial service providers (CSPs) that host application services based on Microsoft platforms.

Titled the Certified Commercial Network Services Provider (CCNSP) program, the plan calls on CSPs to utilize the upcoming release of Windows 2000. Qwest Communications Intl. Inc. (www.qwest.com) was chosen to participate in the program and will begin assessment immediately.

The CCNSP pilot program is open to Microsoft Certified Solution Providers (MCSPs) that commit to developing skills, training, support and processes toward the Microsoft end. CSPs must also meet other CCNSP program requirements, such as a minimum number of certified expertise on staff, and meeting platform and architectural specifications that will be defined.

"The delivery of software as a service via a range of hosting solutions is an area of incredible opportunity for service providers, but also a challenge for them in terms of differentiation and meeting the expanding expectations for their customers," said Thomas Koll, vice president of Microsoft's network solutions group, in a statement today. "By developing the [CCNSP] program, Microsoft aims to enable service providers to demonstrate their unique skills and capabilities in delivering a range of mission-critical services."

CCNSP is initially only available in the U.S., however, the program will be expanded to overseas markets once the pilot has concluded. -- Brian Ploskina

About the Author

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