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Microsoft Pinpoint Launches in Beta

Microsoft this week launched the U.S. beta of Microsoft Pinpoint, a new online business marketplace for connecting customers with partners. Previously codenamed "Hitch," the site is the next iteration of the Solution Finder.

According to Todd Weatherby, a general manager in the Worldwide Partner Group, the company's goals with Pinpoint are to make it easier for customers to find reputable partners. New capabilities include giving customers the opportunity to leave ratings and reviews of partner solutions -- kind of an informal and public way of reinforcing the company's ongoing push for customer satisfaction data on partners.

"We're going to watch and see how that goes," Weatherby said.

For the moment, partners will enter their solutions in the existing Solution Profiler, which will populate both the current Solution Finder and Pinpoint. Eventually, Weatherby said, everything will shift to Pinpoint, which will be accessible to customers from www.microsoft.com and at pinpoint.microsoft.com.

Microsoft reached out to help more than 1,000 partners tune their entries to make sure Pinpoint had a solid launch. But with 274,000 partners in Microsoft directories, optimizing for Pinpoint will be a self-service process for the overwhelming majority of companies.

Pinpoint will roll out internationally in calendar year 2009.

Posted by Scott Bekker on July 09, 2008 at 11:58 AM