The Microsoft Certified Professional Program now offers technology specialist certification for Configuring and Managing Windows Server 2003 Hosted Environments.

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 6, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the first Microsoft® Certified Professional (MCP) exam for IT and hosting professionals to gain Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist status in Configuring and Managing Windows Server® 2003 Hosted Environments. The exam, “70-501 TS: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Hosted Environments, Configuring and Managing,” is designed to enable a reliable measurement of technical proficiency and expertise in using Windows Server 2003 to provide hosted services.

“Microsoft recognizes that as the technology used to deliver advanced hosted services becomes more complex, the requirement for industry-specific skills has grown. This certification program will help hosting providers address that need,” said John Zanni, director of Worldwide Hosting at Microsoft. “With the right skills, hosting providers are able to deliver a positive experience for their customers, while the certification allows them to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

The hosting certification exam provides a more focused approach for hosting professionals who want to obtain the skills necessary to excel in the hosting industry, and for hosting providers to meet the two required Microsoft Certified Professional exams to become a Microsoft Certified Partner in the Advanced Infrastructure Hosting Solutions specialization. In addition, hosting providers can differentiate their organization and help increase their competitive advantage by employing IT professionals who have successfully demonstrated their technical skills through certification. Furthermore, certified organizations will be on the leading edge when deploying future Microsoft technologies.

“The lack of trustworthy standards and certifications has hurt the hosting industry in its attempt to move into the enterprise mainstream,” said Dan Golding, vice president and research director at Tier 1 Research. “There is no doubt that complex hosted environments are significantly different from standard architectures and require their own set of specialized skills and in-depth technical knowledge. Microsoft’s willingness to offer this exam as part of a comprehensive hosting strategy is exciting and will help the hosting industry move forward.”

“As a participant in the development stages of the Windows Server 2003 Hosted Environments, Configuring and Managing certification, we are confident this certification will not only strengthen ViaWest customer offerings but strengthen the hosting industry as a whole,” said Nancy Phillips, chief operating officer and co-founder, ViaWest and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with Microsoft as we grow our business.”

Microsoft offers tools and resources to help candidates prepare for the computer-administered exam, including books, practice tests and Microsoft Web sites. More information is available at https://partner.microsoft.com/global/program/competencies/aisolutions/40029301