Microsoft Names Gold-certified ASPs

Microsoft Corp. Monday (March 12) announced that Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc. and USinternetworking Inc. (USi) are its first U.S. ASP partners to have met the eligibility, service-quality and operational-readiness criteria of the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program for Hosting and Application Services.

“With stringent criteria weighted on service readiness, competency and the capacity for deploying Microsoft technology through the hosted or outsourcing model, Microsoft is endorsing these key ASP partners’ services via our ASP certification process,” said Rosa Garcia, general manager of the Worldwide Partner Programs Group at Microsoft. “These Gold Certified Partners are an excellent choice for companies seeking high-quality hosted solutions, as well as for those companies looking to partner with others in the ASP value chain.”

The areas of specialization qualifying for ASP certification include Hosted Exchange, Office Online, Managed Desktop, Windows Media, E-Commerce and Application Hosting based on Microsoft .NET Servers. USi achieved certification for Hosted Exchange, E-Commerce and Application Hosting; for Application Hosting; and Qwest for Hosted Exchange. A certification for application developers and infrastructure providers is in the works, according to Garcia.

The certification, which must be reviewed and renewed annually, involves a skills competency assessment and certification readiness benchmarking survey, as well as an in-depth on-site assessment. There are currently about 20 companies in various stages of the certification process, Garcia said.

“To be recognized by Microsoft as an ASP leader is an extraordinary assurance for partners and customers that we meet the highest levels of service readiness, competency, capacity and scalability for deploying Microsoft, Siebel and Great Plains applications,” said Dan Taylor, CEO of “Certification of our Managed Operations Services better positions our partners, establishing a trusted place where mid-market businesses can access a new generation of interconnected applications and services.” is an application service provider for midsize businesses, with a Managed Operations service for Siebel Systems, Great Plains, Microsoft and other integrated e-business applications. Founded in 1987, the company operates a secure and reliable 24×7 data center from its Bedford, N.H., headquarters.

“We are pleased that we have received certification for Managed Exchange Services, which runs on our Apptimum platform,” said Kevin Kosche, vice president of Microsoft Development at Qwest. Apptimum is Qwest’s ASP-enabling platform. “This certification underscores the reliability, scalability and commitment to operational excellence that we have followed in building the platform and sets a benchmark for all future applications that will be deployed on Apptimum.”

Kosche said that several key relationships will result from Qwest’s certification, and will be announced in the next 60 to 90 days. Qwest Apptimum is based in Denver, Colo.

“This certification is further validation of our company’s demonstrated ability to deliver the industry’s best ASP services built on the Microsoft platform,” said Andy Stern, CEO of USi. “It is a testament to the efforts of the world-class team of employees that USi has assembled, and I am delighted that USi has earned this benchmark of excellence from Microsoft.”

USi’s iMAP portfolio of service offerings delivers the functionality of leading software from Ariba, BroadVision, Lawson, Microsoft, Oracle, PeopleSoft and Siebel as a continuously supported monthly service via a secure global data center network. USi’s AppHost managed application hosting services pro

vide advanced solutions for enterprises, software companies, marketplaces and system integrators that are seeking a better way to deliver solutions over the Internet to their customers and end users. USi’s corporate headquarters are in Annapolis, Md.

In addition to market recognition, the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Program provides business development, sales support training, priority lead referrals and other joint marketing and sales opportunities. The certification process also aims to help ASPs develop their customer and employee commitment through assessment and feedback.

In October 2000, European ASPs Equant and NetStore were the first to be certified in the European phase of Microsoft’s global ASP Certification Program for their Hosted Exchange services.

News Around the Web