April 24, 2001, 12:57 PM — Microsoft Corp. today announced that its product support and consulting divisions are being combined into a single services organization that will be willing to take on increased responsibility for managing corporate IT implementations.
The software vendor said it hopes to make its services operations more appealing to large customers by offering to act as a prime contractor for IT implementations. For example, Microsoft said it recently took the lead role on a team of 16 vendors that installed systems based on its software and XML technology for the British government.
Robert McDowell, a Microsoft vice president who was named to head the new merged services organization, said in a statement that most users "will be happy with any number of systems integrators" as their prime contractor. "But in cases where customers ask Microsoft to take on a large portion of the risk ... [we're] committed to structuring a reasonable proposal to do so," he added.
Today's announcement formally integrates Microsoft's product support services and consulting services divisions into a single worldwide unit. Users will be able to contract for consulting services and get access to technical support from Microsoft and its business partners through the combined operation, the company said.