Microsoft certifies ASP partners

Microsoft Corp. plans to announce Monday the first three U.S. companies to have met its criteria for specially certified ASP (application service provider) partners. Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc. and USinternetworking Inc. are the first U.S. ASPs to be listed under the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program for Hosting and Application Services, the companies said in a joint statement.

Microsoft had previously listed the U.K. operations Equant NV and NetStore PLC as its only "gold certified" ASPs.

Gold certification partners must meet "rigorous certification requirements and must prove their expertise in a given solution area by providing real-world customer references," Microsoft said.

The company offers gold certification in five areas: E-Commerce Solutions, Software Products, Support Services, Enterprise Systems, and Hosting and Application Services.

Executives from Microsoft,, Qwest, and USinternetworking will discuss the certification on a conference call to be held at 8:00 a.m. Pacific time Monday. The call can be reached within the U.S. at 800-280-1337, under the name Microsoft Gold Partner ASP announcement, and password "ASP." A recording of the call will be available starting at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time at 800-938-1886 within the U.S., or at +1-402-220-2629 from elsewhere, under conference number 1505.

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